Sunday, September 20, 2009
IMBY'S "A sudden loss of lift that results in a downward plunge" Report.
Stalled Site 187 20th St.
NOTE: Rabid IMBY readers might have noticed a sudden drop in the number of daily posts over the past summer. It seems reoccurring parole violations have kept most of our top notch IMBY interns from getting out and about to fulfill their 50 words-per-week duties.
I, GPS ankle bracelet aside, was finally able to personally check up on some of our more troubled development sites and see how they were progressing.
Financial Impotency and the Slumping Housing Market
It's kind of our "Who's having erection problems in the South Slope/Green Wood Heights/Sunset Park neighborhoods?" update. Would like to comment up front that these development sites have suffered for the most part from poor execution rather than our sudden economic bubble bursting downturn. These guys literally dug their own graves.
So should we start by checking the Buildings Department Stalled Construction Sites web page in order to get our bearings? This new feature started tracking some 398 stalled and abandoned building sites back in July of this year. The most recent list dated September 20, 2009 now shows 441 stalled sites in the five boroughs. That's in no way a complete listing of all of the sites out there.
400 15th Street in the SSlope, for example, did not make the DOB's hit list. That suspended site has not seen any construction work at all in many months. We understand it is currently seeking a buyer.
We wonder, do buildings automatically make the list after their permits expire and are not renewed, or is it in response to the public's 311 complaints concerning health and safety?
Let's look at three sites that did make the list...187 20th Street, 325 20th Street, and closer to home, 308 14th Street.
This New York Times photo below, of 187 20th Street's foundation was taken back in late August 2005 shortly after a construction worker, Arturo Gonzales, 27, was tragically crushed to death by a falling steel girder. The developer, 187 20th Street Realty, was fined $400 at the time by the DOB.
This recent IMBY photo of the site's foundation shows that almost nothing has changed in the last four years. The steel I-beams appear to have been left in place exactly as they fell on the day of the accident. Robert M. Scarano, jr., is the architect of record for this job.
Five Members in DOB's Stalled-Site Unit
Below you can see the Buildings Department's BIS report card for 187 20th St. showing what the new "stalled site" inspection records will look like. You can see there are numerous complaints and violations on record indicating that the property owners have had difficulties maintaining a safe and secure 8' tall construction fence protecting the public from falling into their abandoned foundation hole. Seems that keeping tabs on this building site has required inspectors to make monthly visits.
*click report to enlarge*
A new chain link fence has appeared. Sudden epiphany or maybe they are hoping to take advantage of Mayor Bloomberg's proposed stalled site monitoring program where down on their luck builders get a break on renewing their building permits for up to four years. Normally permits are good for one year, but developers are being offered an extension in exchange for voluntarily registering/notifying the DOB that their work on the building has ceased and that they agree to maintain a safe and sound site until the work restarts.
325 20th Street.
A STOP WORK ORDER(s) exists on this property for inadequate sheeting/shoring...failure to protect adjacent buildings... various other hazardous conditions resulting from improper excavation work related to the foundation. Currently both adjacent properties have been damaged and the prior excavation back filled. A sidewalk shed is in place to protect against the possibility that parts of the neighboring building might wreck havoc upon unsuspecting pedestrian's scalps. Henry Radusky of Bricolage Design is the original architect of record.
ABOVE: The shit hits the fan multiple times as a neighbor watches her undermined garden being swallowed up after inadequate shoring fails.
Want to know the back story? Five Legged Goat Roping Clown Show.
308 14th Street
Only one STOP WORK ORDER exists on this property. The very common unsafe/illegal/mechanical demolition hazardous condition violation. Looks like they never finished the job.
Stalled Site inspection report below...but only if you share my fetish.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
And the winner is... 308 14th Street.
Here are some properties that are not on the DOB's list... yet.
320 19th Street
Looks like a $12,000 fine for naughty demo work is awaiting a final judgement day.
This unguarded site is directly across the street from PS 295, an elementary school.
OK kids what lessons can we learn from this?
289 13th Street
A PARTIAL STOP WORK ORDER exists on this property.
This is how the excavation looked back in November 2007 at the time the SWO violation was issued. The home on the right began to shift and crack and rakers had to be installed. The excavation was then back filled. The wood construction fence was removed recently and this chain link one put up in its place. Bucolic to say the least.
Hope you enjoyed the tour. We at IMBY welcome your input. Please send photos of any stalled sites I may have missed... due to.. well... you know... XXX 000