Friday, February 29, 2008
Just came across this property under construction along 15th Street while taking pictures for our Norwegian Evangelical Free Church posting. The new condo project, among the many on the block, is located at 188 15th Street to be exact. Nothing too out of the ordinary for these parts, but the reuse of the 100+ year old rowhouse's brick front facade and the addition of the minimalist glass balcony caught my eye. I became curious.
Usually when ever I see a new condo being developed, I always check the Brooklyn real estate web site www.Brownstone.com first to see if he has posted anything online. It's a quick fix.
Of course I wasn't surprised to find a series of updated posts on the property over the last couple of years, the first dating back to May 24th 2005, and again on March 1st 2006, and then most recently on February 1st 2007.
What I find interesting about these Brownstoner "Modern Townhouse" postings is looking back and reading some of the comments. Speculating on all the possibilities... The sale price, the unused available FAR, the affects of the pending sale of the warehouse next door, the eventual demolition of the warehouse next door, the neighborhood Down Zoning, the builder's rush to beat the clock, the subsequent BSA hearing and denial that ultimately killed the planned Katan development, even the future Modern Townhouse project's developer coming on to post what his plans actually entailed.
One begins to see the power of this blog. It is documenting a slice of life in the South Slope during a period of time described by some, as one of unchecked super-accelerated growth.
I think 15th Street, from 4th Avenue all the way to Prospect Park in particular, is turning out to be a microcosmic example of the recent greater, ( by greater, I mean larger), transformations one sees happening in all the outer boroughs in general. I don't believe any mid-block commercial/warehouse/manufacturing space still remains unconverted to residential use. The garages, auto repair shops, parking lots, even church properties have all but disappeared in the last 5 years.
It will be interesting to see how all this blogging plays out in one hundred years from now. Will any of this dusty blogformation even be accessible to future generations of homeowner historians wanting to get a feel for life as it was lived in the early 21st century Brooklyn?
Another chapter... There is an open house scheduled today, March 2nd at 188 15th Street if you are interested.
The view from 16th Street across the "vacant" lot. 188 15th Street is on the right.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I came across this photo while browsing through the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery. It was taken on July 4th, 1930 by the photographer Percy Loomis Sperr. On the back is written in pencil "Norwegian Evangelical (Free ) Church". During the mid 1800's, Scandinavian immigrants began settling in South Brooklyn below Fourth Avenue in large numbers.
Today the corner of 15th Street and Fourth Avenue is home to a Strauss Automotive Center, but if you look at the Fifteenth side facade of the building, you can still see that the rear portion of the original church still survives. Although the large rectangular window openings have been bricked up, the lintel stones are still in place. The brick buttresses between the windows as well as the decorative detail work along the roof line contrast the additional alterations added over time along Fourth Avenue. In the early 1940's, maybe as soon as September 1944, they stopped doing baptisms and began performing oil changes, as a temporary Certificate of Occupancy on file within that year allows for the premises to be used as an "auto showroom". This conversion from church to showroom coincides with the time when many Norwegians began leaving the old, crowded neighborhoods of Red Hook and Sunset Park for the greener pastures of Bay Ridge.
Detail of the bricked up windows and decorative brick motif.
A congregation of pigeons does its best to keep the walls looking nice and white washed. Pictured above from left to right: Kjelfrid, Lovise, Nina, Ingrid, Gunnhild, Margrethe, Trude, Solveig, Benedikte, Borghilde.........
The rear facade is now visible after the recent demolition of the Holy Cross Polish National Catholic Church and Rectory next door. The properties, 155-161 15th Street, were sold in 2007 to a developer for $3.85 million. He plans to build 21 housing units with 14 off street parking spaces. For a time capsuled, virtual street view of the Church and Rectory, you can click here and visit Google Maps.
This rear view shows the same Gothic styled, arched windows used in the front of the building. From here we can see the original chimney and metal roof vents, visible in the 1930 photo, are still in place.
I wonder if the two churches always existed side by side, or if the two buildings were ever used in the past by one denomination? The now demolished Holy Cross Church's front facade is barely visible in the 1930 photo. Visually, the roman styled arches and broken-based pediment of Holy Cross contrasts it stylistically from the neighboring Norwegian Evangelical, which makes me think that they were always separate. Anyone know any Catholic Polish Nationals in their 90's who grew up in South Brooklyn?
Looking East Down 15th Street. In the distance you can see another new development still under construction along Fourth Avenue. That I believe is the "Olive Garden Building" on the right.
For more history on the migratory patterns of Brooklyn's Norwegian population click on the Lingonberry photo.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
It seems almost incomprehensible that one would volentarily hand their most prized possession, their house, over to a Brooklyn developer for safety's sake. A Greenwood Heights couple is doing just that, risking the very roof over their heads in order to secure the foundation under their feet, as the contractor-next-door begins underpinning their century old home in preparation for the construction of a new 23rd Street building If there ever was a time during construction when things could go badly, it's during this phase. Luckily they have a good working relationship with the builder.
You can follow along on their journey by visiting their online construction diary by clicking here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER PATRICIA LANCASTER LAUNCHES COMPREHENSIVE INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE SUPPORTED SCAFFOLD AND SIDEWALK SHED SAFETY
Department Inspecting 1,500 Sites Over Next 30 Days, Instituting Notice Requirement for Scaffolds Below 40 Feet, Developing Additional Design and Safety Measures
Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, announced that beginning today the Buildings Department will undertake a 30-day citywide crackdown on unsafe supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds – more than 1,500 of which will be inspected. The inspections are the first step in the Department’s new Safety Analysis and Field Evaluation (SAFE) Scaffold & Shed Initiative, a comprehensive package of increased enforcement, operational and regulatory initiatives, and design improvements to increase scaffold and sidewalk shed safety. This morning, Commissioner Lancaster issued a regulatory notice reminding design professionals, contractors, and scaffold companies of the technical requirements that must be followed to ensure the safety of supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds. (See attached regulatory notice.) Buildings inspectors will have zero tolerance for structures that fail to meet them.
“Recent incidents have demonstrated that proper design standards and installation techniques for supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds have not been consistently followed,” said Commissioner Lancaster. “Today we are significantly stepping up enforcement of these requirements and putting developers, contractors, and workers on notice: scaffolds and sidewalk sheds must be up to code, or we will halt your work until you comply.”
As part of the SAFE Scaffold & Shed Initiative, the Department will institute a new notification requirement for supported scaffolds under 40 feet; increase coordination with the NYPD and the Criminal Justice Coordinator to hold careless drivers who damage scaffolds and sidewalk sheds accountable; and enhance enforcement of federal worker training requirements. And the Department will improve sidewalk shed safety through better design by implementing a prototype of a new sidewalk shed. This initiative builds upon the substantially increased enforcement efforts that the Buildings Department has undertaken since Mayor Bloomberg signed the New NYC Construction Codes last July, and on the success of the Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force, which last year implemented measures that resulted in a decrease in accidents involving suspended scaffolds.
30-Day Inspection Sweep
The SAFE Scaffold & Shed Initiative will begin with an intensive 30-day, citywide inspection sweep of more than 1,500 properties with supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds. Buildings inspectors will have zero tolerance for scaffolds and sheds that are improperly installed or do not meet the Building Code’s design requirements. Stop Work Orders will be issued on those jobs and will not be lifted until all deficiencies are corrected and workers demonstrate that they have the required training. Commissioner Lancaster issued a regulatory notice this morning summarizing the technical requirements that must be met to ensure that supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds are safely constructed and used. (See attached regulatory notice.) Buildings inspectors will have zero tolerance for structures that fail to comply. The Department’s Scaffold Safety Team will inspect supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds using an enhanced protocol that includes a review of the scaffold structure to ensure compliance with approved wind load calculations. Using data from the 30-day inspection sweep launched today, the Buildings Department will work with the Task Force—which includes representatives from the construction industry, organized labor, immigrant advocacy groups, and others—to identify and implement additional measures to protect workers and the public.
Increased Enforcement Measures
While design flaws and non-compliant construction contribute to the challenges posed by scaffolds, careless or reckless drivers often damage sidewalk sheds and supported scaffolding, putting worker and public safety at risk. Drivers and business owners whose employees damage scaffolding, accidentally or intentionally, must be held accountable. The Buildings Department will work with NYPD and the Criminal Justice Coordinator to look at additional measures to hold careless or reckless drivers accountable for damaging scaffolds and sidewalk sheds. In addition, the New NYC Construction Codes that go into effect July 1 this year will require the responsible party who oversees supported scaffolds to inspect the structures daily and to keep the results of these inspections in a maintenance log readily available to the Buildings Department.
Notice for Supported Scaffold Installations Below 40 feet
As part of the SAFE Scaffold & Shed Initiative, the Buildings Department will promulgate a new rule requiring contractors who install supported scaffolds less than 40 feet in height to notify the Department 48 hours in advance of the installation. This notification requirement will enable the Scaffold Safety Team to locate and proactively inspect these sites to ensure that they are safe and code-compliant. A supported scaffold is a system of pipes, wood and safety netting assembled along a building’s exterior so that workers can perform façade maintenance and other tasks. (See Appendix A and B for examples of compliant and non-compliant supported scaffolds.) Currently, only supported scaffolds that are 40 feet or higher require a permit from the Buildings Department, and as of February 20, 2008, there are nearly 1,300 permitted, supported scaffolds in use throughout the five boroughs. In addition, there are thousands of supported scaffolds under 40 feet in height that are used for interior construction work, brownstones, and other low-rise buildings below five stories.
Improving Sidewalk Shed Safety Through Better Design
As part of the SAFE Scaffold & Shed Initiative, the Buildings Department, in partnership with the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, will test a design prototype of a new sidewalk shed engineered to improve pedestrian safety, increase natural light on the sidewalk, and improve the streetscape around construction sites. The Buildings Department is studying the need for additional safety enhancements, including securing sheds to the sidewalk in certain cases for added stability and enhancing the required wind-load calculations for shed installation. A sidewalk shed is a temporary bridge-like structure built over a sidewalk to protect pedestrians during construction on or near a building’s façade. (See Appendix C and D for examples of compliant and non-compliant sidewalk sheds.) Due to the construction boom and the mandatory façade-maintenance requirements, there are approximately 4,500 sidewalk sheds installed citywide.
The Buildings Department will engage the Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force on all of these measures to build upon the progress made in addressing accidents related to suspended scaffolds in 2006. As of February 2008, 12 of the 13 recommendations presented by the Task Force have been implemented, and the Department hopes to extend this success to supported scaffolds and sidewalk sheds. The recommendations included the creation of a Scaffold Safety Team at the Buildings Department, expanded and streamlined training requirements, increased penalties, new legislation to enhance enforcement capabilities, and improved coordination between the Buildings Department and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. To view the full Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force report, “Steps to Safety,” or to view Task Force progress reports, visit www.nyc.gov/buildings.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Overview for Complaint #:3253736 = RESOLVED
Complaint at: 400 15th St.
Borough: BROOKLYN ZIP: 11215
Re: FDNY REQUESTED STRUCTURAL STABILITY CHECK
Category Code: 30 BUILDING SHAKING/VIBRATING/STRUCTURAL STABILITY AFFECTED
Assigned To: BROOKLYN BOROUGH OFFICE
Received: 02/14/2008 14:18
Block: 1104 Lot: 27 Community Board: 307
Last Inspection: 02/14/2008 - - BY BADGE # 1252 HINDS, RONALD BROOKLYN
Disposition: 02/14/2008 - - A3 - STOP WORK ORDER VIOLATION ISSUED
Disposition Entered By: CHZ 02/14/2008 17:46:47
Comments: NO GUARD RAILS ON AROUND AT FRONT FOUNDATION SECTION NO TEMPORARY STAIRS FOR EGRESS
DOB Violation #: 021408C0703RH
NYC Department of Buildings
Overview for Complaint #:3248263 = RESOLVED
Complaint at: 406 15th St.
Re: FDNY REQUESTED STRUCTURAL STABILITY CHECK OF UNSAFE BUILDING DUE TO CONSTRUCTION WORK.
Category Code: 30 BUILDING SHAKING/VIBRATING/STRUCTURAL STABILITY AFFECTED
Assigned To: BROOKLYN BOROUGH OFFICE Priority: A
Received: 12/17/2007 13:56
Owner: ARMORY HEIGHTS, LLC
Previous Violations: ECB: 34622569M DoB: 121707C07C3RG/RG04
Complaint Disposition History:
12/17/2007 A3 STOP WORK ORDER VIOLATION ISSUED 2255 GREY 12/17/2007
"NO GUARDRAILS AROUND ELEVATOR SHAFTS STAIRWELLS THRU-OUT
BUILDING CONSTRUCTION FENCE IS LEANING OUT OF BEAMS 3'FTX20'FT OF FENCE"
12/20/2007 "FULL RESCIND OF STOP WORK ORDER" 0363 BARKER
12/20/2007 "ALL WORK SUBSTANTIALLY CONFORMS TO APPROVED PLANS NB#301987161. GUARDRAILS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED"
LINKS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO CITYWIDE BUILDING INSPECTION PROGRAM
“The inspection program is a critical component of ensuring public safety by allowing firefighters to get a first-hand look at buildings before an emergency arises,” Commissioner Scoppetta said. “By increasing inspection time and providing more tools and information to our members, these initial steps will give firefighters a better opportunity to uncover any challenges they may face while fighting fires. What they see could ultimately save their own life or the lives of others.”
Fire Department Alters Its Inspection Schedule.
"In an effort to focus on larger and more complex construction and demolition projects, the Fire Department has decreased the frequency of inspections for some smaller projects. The move is part of a series of changes made in response to lapses exposed by the death of two firefighters at the former Deutsche Bank building."
Monday, February 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Friday, November 24, 2006
Monday, April 23, 2007 All the kings horses-The reconstruction of 396 15th Street.
Monday, October 08, 2007 Water Table
Sunday, November 25, 2007 Reflections on 400 15th Streets Foundation.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
What's new? Second floor rear balconies. Also the decking has been completed and the third floor slab has been poured. Iron work begins on the fourth floor today. Masons already building up the walls having finished the corners a few days ago.
Concrete pumping boom forms an arch across the sky.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
New Building Plans approved for 377-379 Prospect Avenue across from PS10 Elementary School.
Plans call for:
Zoning District: R5B - GENERAL RESIDENCE DISTRICT
Special District: NONE
Street Status: PUBLIC - LEGAL WIDTH 60
Map No.: 016d
Building Dimension: No. Stories:3
Height: 33' Dwelling Units: 10
Total Gross Area of Building: 14,465 Sq. Ft.
Open Spaces: Plaza:
Parking: 2699 Sq. Ft.
Parking Spaces: 7
Do you get choice of soup or salad when you order the Demo Deluxe? Old Certificate of Occupancy states the place used to be a gas station/garage.
Check out the crazy lot. In this part of Windsor Terrace/Southern Park Slope their are a many of these skinny meandering land-locked lots that wander behind other properties. They continue, on and off, all the way down to Fourth Avenue.
Kelly Robert Member
379 Prospect Views LLC 3130 Amboy Road 718-987-3000
Staten Island NY 10306
UPDATE: NY Massey Knakal Realty Services has sold a tear-down, 2-family home with plans for new development at 314 12th St. in Park Slope for $1.35 million.
The property sold for $180 per s/f to a New Jersey developer. NY Real Estate Journal
Plans have been filed and approved June '07 for a new building at 314 12th Street in Brooklyn. No new construction permits have actually been issued as of today. No demolition permits issued as of today. No construction fence is in place.
Approved plans indicate 5 story, 50' tall structure with 5 units of housing to be built on the 25'x100' lot in a R6B zone.
There are several 311 complaints concerning the unguarded, unsealed, vacant condition of the building dating back to July '07.
"THE ABOVE PROPERTY IS AN ABANDONED HOUSE. THE FRONT DOOR IS WIDE OPEN AND ACCESSIBLE TO ANYONE"
Three Environmental Control Board Violations resulting from the building being vacant and deteriorating:
"FAILURE TO MAINTAIN EXTERIOR BUILDING DEFECT NOTED: 2 FRONT WINDOWS AT 2ND FLOOR LEVEL WINDOW FRAME IS MISSING FROM THE WINDOW OPENING THUS OPEN TO THE ELEMENTS.
REMEDY: SEAL THE WINDOWS ON 2ND FLOOR.
Owner: CORPORATION Non-Profit Flag: N
Nesbit, Robert Pres
314 12th Street LLC 55 W21st Street 212 675 - 3429
NYC NY 10010
Mandanas, Mary E VP
55 W12th Street NYC NY 10010 212 675 - 3429
The iron work is extended upwards after each lower floor has been decked and the concrete poured and finished. Not so confident about the way the holes have been drilled. Looks like some holes have blown out over the edge of the column. Actually who is responsible for inspecting the iron, the Engineer? The Self-Certifing Architect? The General Contractor? The Buildings Department? Below you can click on the photos to see the details and judge for yourself.