Friday, February 27, 2009

290 13th Street & 561 11th Street: ROBERT PALERMO, CORPORATE DESIGN OF AMERICA, P.C.

Separated at birth
ImbyTRAC™ continues its Tour of the Southern Slope. Follow along then, for we have two new four family projects under construction. These two 25' wide tear-em-down-and-fill-em-back-in developments are being designed by the Brooklyn architectural firm of Corporate Design of America, PC.
Will we be able to tell them apart when completed? So far the twins seem to be progressing at a decent rate of construction without the usual foundation/excavation/underpinning pitfalls.
Not so with the other south Slope C.D. of A. project, 400 15th Street, which has apparently stalled out. A year ago the price to buy a square foot of dirt on our side of Ninth Street would set you back $460 and $577. Incroyable!

Our before and after pictures can always be enlarged with a click.

290 13th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues

General Contractor: OMNI BUILD, INC.

Most recent sale price: $1,150,000 on 10/15/2007

Block 1035 Lot 17

R6B residential zoning
25'x100' Lot
Total Construction Floor Area: 6,520 Sq.Ft.

Building Height: 49 feet
Building Stories: 4
Dwelling Units: 4

Down Below: 561 11th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues


General Contractor: OMNI BUILD, INC.

Owner: 561 11th Street Realty LLC
Most recent sale: $1,225,000 on 2/8/2008

Block 1049 Lot 51

R6B Zoned
Lot Size: 25'x 84.83'
Total Construction Floor Area: 5,416sq.ft.

Building Height: 44
Building Stories: 4
Dwelling Units: 4

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Broken Boughs

Predatory winds have taken their toll this winter. Recent damage in Prospect Park, broken limbs destined for the chipper.

Why do trees die?
Trees die because respiration terminates.
Respiration terminates because carbohydrate production ceases and stored carbohydrates are exhausted.
Carbohydrate production ceases because photosynthesis discontinues.
Photosynthesis discontinues because the factors necessary for photosynthesis are interrupted or obstructed.
Factors for photosynthesis are interrupted because of human activities or environmental changes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Day in the Park: Witch Hazel, Hemorrhoids, and Coconut Dainties.

Brooklyn's Prospect Park
. Saw these sights. Thunk these thoughts.

The Witch Hazel is blooming. The bark from the shrub is used as an astringent.

Witch-hazel is the active ingredient in many hemorrhoid medications.

Tucks Pads with Witch Hazel
provides relief for hemorrhoids.

Tucks Homemade Candies makes an excellent Coconut Daintie! A light, delicious coconut treat half-dipped in sweet dark chocolate that can bring relief to just about everything.

Friday, February 20, 2009

GREEN ROOF$ in Brooklyn

Holy Air Rights.
I spend quiet a bit of time looking up at our city's skyline. No, I'm not a tourist, I'm just waiting for a sign from God.

A thing I have observed. One hundred years ago architects were more concerned with the way their buildings "finished". I'm talking about that physical transition between Heaven and Earth. The vanishing point where all our building ends, and His begins.
Parapetically Speaking
If the beautifully proportioned hat or decorative cornice really does make the man, than what can be said about all this new south Slope construction? In this very corporal R6B world in which we eat, shit, and die, zoning restrictions prevent anything over 50 feet tall from being built that could interfere with our communally shared light and air. When walking about I'm constantly working over in my minds eye the 40 foot maximum street wall and Sudoku-like sky exposure plane calculations from my particular sidewalk vantage point.

A big fraking cyborg cherry plopped on top of two scoops of E.I.F.S. slathered chunks of Styrofoam.
It's been mostly cookie cutter infill here in the south Slope. The buildings all finish the same, more or less. It has all become built to the lowest spec, speculation. What sets apart the good from the bad, and the bad from the downright fugly is the way they have "designed" their rooftop bulkheads. The mechanicals, cluttered on top in plain view... The elevator rooms... air conditioner compressors... dormers... railings... galvanized exhaust vent stacks... At what point do some architects give up on their pursuit of ordered beauty? Apparently it's fifty feet.

It's a Setback
A setback is the portion of a building that is set back above the base height (or street wall or perimeter wall) before the total height of the building is achieved. The position of a building setback in height factor districts is controlled by sky exposure planes and, in contextual districts, by specified distances from street walls.

Street Wall
A street wall is a wall or portion of a wall of a building facing a street.

Sky Exposure Plane
A sky exposure plane is a virtual sloping lane that begins at a specified height and rises inward over the zoning lot at a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance set forth in district regulations. It is designed to provide light and air at street level, primarily in medium- and higher-density districts, and must not be penetrated by the building (except for permitted obstructions).

Permitted Obstruction
A permitted obstruction is a structure or object, such as a balcony, trellis, air conditioner, gutter or fence, that may be located within required open space or yards on a zoning lot, as specified in the Zoning Resolution. Certain structures on a roof, such as elevator bulkheads, water towers or parapets no higher than four feet, are permitted obstructions and allowed to penetrate a height limit, setback area or sky exposure plane.

What does this have to do with Green Roofs?

Can't beat 'em? Then join 'em!
By "green" I mean property owners can generate additional income by leasing their unused roof space to the telecommunications industry. Anyone else notice that several cell phone towers have gone up in the neighborhood over the last couple of weeks? One on the roof of The Smiling Pizza Building on the corner of 7th Avenue and 9th Street, another on the roof of the apartment building up on 16th Street and Prospect Park West, directly across the street from Farrell's Bar and Grill.
They seem to be identical installations. Maybe the work of same network provider. ( There are already several older cell towers looking down into Bartel-Pritchard Square .)

Lord... Can you hear me now?
How 'bout now? Lord?
Here is the Verizon Wireless link for interested landlords containing all the design criteria for having your property evaluated. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Sadly interest seems to be really, really, really, really high.
"Verizon Wireless receives thousands of inquiries each year from property owners, property managers and customers who offer property on which our communications facilities can be located."

Windsor Terrace: Atmospheric Perspectives

Sunday, February 15, 2009

287-289 13th Street Progress Report

Is this a new strategy? An Environmental Control Board violation against the the bank that holds the mortgage on the property being developed; United International Bank, L.L.C. is listed as the respondent.

According to Property Shark, the developer 287-289 LLC has a $2,400,000 mortgage with United International Bank located at 41-60 Main Street, in Flushing.

Is this something we will be seeing more often as troubled building sites like this one languish? Regardless, it looks like someone is finally complying with the Buildings Department Stop Work Order because the neighboring damaged building has had its exposed brick wall parged and weather proofed, the iron rakers have been packed, and the entire site is now back filled to grade.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"UNLUCKY 289 13th St."

Monday, March 31, 2008
"289 13th Street progress report."

When you search the address on Google maps, this serendipitous image from the past of an unknown threesome appears. They seem to be checking out the full length cracks in the facade.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

406 15th Street Seeks Community Facility Tenant

Community Facility Use
A community facility use provides educational, recreational, religious, health or other essential services for the community it serves. Use Groups 3 and 4 are classified as community facility uses. 406 15th Street is located in a R6B zone between 7th and 8th Avenues directly across from the Park Slope Armory Sports Facility. The plans identify the proposed use as an Ambulatory Health Care Facility, Occupancy Group C, Use Group 4. Sixty eight persons are allowed within its 6,793.86 cellar space. You can click on the plans below to expand the drawings.

NYC Zoning Handbook:
Community Facilities
Chapter 6

The Zoning Resolution recognizes certain types of uses which serve the general welfare as community facilities. There are three broad categories of community facility uses:
Local Community Facilities
Local community facilities-elementary and secondary schools, branch libraries, houses of worship, community centers and settlement houses-provide essential services for the neighborhoods in which they are located. While some of these facilities may serve an area larger than the surrounding community, it is generally agreed that they exist primarily to enrich the residential community.
Regional Community Facilities
Regional community facilities serve the population at large. Some uses in this category, such as colleges, central libraries, museums and hospitals, could locate almost anywhere. Other community facilities in this category are residential facilities such as orphanages, nursing homes, and homes for retarded children.
Auxiliary Community Facilities
Auxiliary community facilities include uses which support local or regional community services. For example, monasteries, convents, college dormitories, hospital staff housing, parish houses or rectories do not usually provide a direct service to the public but some colleges, hospitals, schools, churches and community centers could not function effectively without them. Virtually all of the uses in this category are places of residence.

Community facilities are listed in either Use Group 3 or Use Group 4. As a rule, facilities found in Use Group 3 are deemed to be incompatible with Use Groups 1618 uses and, therefore, are not allowed in C8 and M1 districts. Facilities listed in Use Group 4 are allowed as-of-right in C8 districts and are permitted by special permit in M1 districts. No community facilities are allowed in M2 and M3 districts. The Zoning Resolution has generally encouraged the location of community facilities in residential areas.

The 1961 Zoning Resolution allowed a community facility to be larger than a residential structure built on a zoning lot of equal size in the same zone. If the same residential bulk controls were imposed on most community facilities as on residential buildings in the district, many community facilities would not be able to locate in most residential districts. A school, house of worship, hospital or college must be a certain size to operate efficiently, even in low-density, low-bulk zones. Applying the same residential floor area ratio to community facilities would require community facilities to occupy significantly larger sites in most zoning districts. Assembling large sites in New York City is complicated, difficult and expensive, creating problems for institutions the city needs and wants and for the neighborhoods in which they locate. Also, by allowing community facilities, which are often tax-exempt, to fit more floor area on smaller sites, more land remains on the tax rolls. However, in some districts, the City Planning Commission has determined that community facility buildings should not be significantly larger than neighboring residential buildings.

In 1973 the Zoning Resolution was amended to require that community facilities in R1 and R2 districts be limited to the same FAR as residential developments. Another amendment of that year provided that several types of community facilities with sleeping accommodations could no longer exceed the residential floor area ratio except by special permit Medium and higher density contextual districts generally allow community facilities either the same (or only slightly higher) floor area ratios than the other uses in the district.

These Bricolage Designs Inc. approved architectural plans indicate the position of the Carbon Monoxide exhaust vent for the subcellar parking facility as being in the rear yard patio. In response to a 311 complaint from 1 -26- 09 inquiring about the proper position for the vent and it's immediate proximity to the rear property line of 397 16th street, the Brooklyn Buildings Department inspectors found on 2- 6- 2009 that the "complaint unsubstantiated based on Department records".

NYC Building Code Title 27 Subchapter 7 has this to say about mechanical ventilation and underground parking lots:

Pointed 10 feet from any child's window?

There is a very real chance, according to the above advertisement from M Properties Group of Manhattan, LLC, that the outdoor terrace surrounding this CO exhaust vent could someday soon become the ideal playground space for a daycare center!
Knowing how concerned Park Slope parents are when it comes to the health and safety of their children, I can't imagine Pre-K teachers allowing anyone under their care to play along side this potentially life threatening hazard. The risks are just too high.

Now more than ever, the DOB needs to reevaluate their position as to whether allowing the vent to remain in its present location will be in the best interest of the community.
The neighbors of 16th Street have already spoken. They want this vent moved. It is simply unacceptable.

IMBY Links: Suck on this NIMBY's

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

406 15th Street Now Renting Apartments

First of the Month Milestone.

Looks like people have finally taken up residency in several of the twenty seven *Certified for Temporary Occupancy* apartments in the Armory Heights Plaza. Just two months shy of our four year anniversary.

To be honest I don't have any pictures of anyone actually moving in as proof, but I do have these photos of people moving out of the building next door, 1504 8th Avenue, during what came to be known at the time as the Brooklyn Buildings Department immanently perilous to your life cracktoberfeast forced emergency vacation order.
I know, I know, it's July of 2006, but if you just look at those faces, you can tell the tenants really, really, want to get in to their apartments (to get their stuff before the building falls apart).

Queuing up to get in.

Question, people who regularly read this blog...And how would you have known that the white dude wearing the flip flops wasn't getting ready to move in if I hadn't just told you otherwise?

If there are any of the old 1504 tenants still looking for a place to live, why not rent a place at the Armory Heights Plaza? Just think of the possibilities.