SoNo Collection’s balcony railings raise safety concerns
NORWALK — As city and federal investigators pieced together the circumstances that led to a fatal fall this week during overnight construction at The SoNo Construction, a member of a Facebook chat group warned other parents of the possible danger to children posed by glass railings fronting the new mall’s atria that are centerpieces of its design.
On Wednesday, Norwalk police identified the deceased worker as Lorgio Jimenez-Suarez, 52, of Astoria, N.Y. Mall developer Brookfield Properties did not provide immediate details on any causes of the fall and any additional steps taken since to ensure worker safety.
A member of a “Stamford Moms” Facebook group on Wednesday alerted other parents of an episode she recently experienced at The SoNo Collection, after workers warned her to keep her toddler from playing near a glass railing overlooking an open atrium that is three stories tall. The workers cited unspecified design concerns with the railing.
Asked in September about the design of the railing — the Stamford Town Center mall has had multiple incidents of falls or near-falls in its own central atrium — a Brookfield Properties manager indicated the company was satisfied with the design, with the railings meant to accentuate sight lines along The SoNo Collection’s main concourses. Portions of the uppermost atria overlooks are set back slightly from the mezzanine deck.
Brookfield avoided situating furniture near the rails as a further deterrent to any accidents, he added, while noting the mall’s security staff would be vigilant in the atria areas to guard against any unsafe behavior by patrons of the mall and its restaurants that serve alcohol.
“The railings are code-compliant — they are 42 inches tall, that’s standard everywhere,” Paul Madden, director of design for Brookfield Properties, said during construction of the mall in late September.
Madden said his company has “a number of properties that deal with this vertical element — Providence is very similar.”
Brookfield’s Providence Place mall was the scene of a fatal fall in May 2018, after a Pawtucket, R.I. man lost his balance while riding the handrail of an escalator in violation of mall rules.
Includes reporting by Jim Shay and Pat Tomlinson.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman