Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who's going down at the Armory Heights Plaza?


Photos courtesy C.C.G.H.

Parking. Parking. Parking. Lots of parking related questions concerning the brand spanking new underground parking garage at 406 15th Street and whether it violates any zoning or certificate of occupancy rules, regulations, and or laws.

There are currently two pending Buildings Department violations awaiting judgement before the Environmental Control Board.
#34767573M Specific Violation Condition(s) and Remedy:
"VIOLATION OF PARKING REGULATIONS IN A RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT. RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT IS R. ACCESSORY PARKING TO DWELLING IS ADVERTISED & OCCUPIED AS COMMERCIAL PARKING SPACE FOR RENT. REMEDY: CONFORM TO PARKING REG" Scheduled hearing date was 6/15/2009

#34767568H "Specific Violation Condition(s) and Remedy:
OCCUPANCY/USE CONTRARY TO THAT ALLOWED BY THE C OF O. C OF O #301987161F ISSUED 3/20/09 INDICATES. OFF STREET PARKING IS FOR ACCESSORY PARKING AT TIME OF INSPECTION. PREMISES IS USED & ADVERTISING FOR COMMERICA"
Scheduled hearing date is 8/03/2009

406 15th Street is within the south Park Slope R6B residential zone. The Schedule A from the DOB web site shows 27 rental apartments over 5 floors, a cellar level community facility, and two sub cellar levels of parking below, each level indicating 11 parking space or 22 indoor parking spaces total. There are 4 additional street level parking spaces along side the building.

The Quality Housing Program, mandatory in contextual R6 through R10 residence districts and optional in noncontextual districts, encourages development consistent with the character of many established neighborhoods. Its bulk regulations set height limits and allow high lot coverage buildings that are set at or near the street line. Quality Housing buildings must also have amenities relating to the planting of trees, landscaping and recreation space.
The R6B district allows a maximum FAR of 2.0 for all permitted uses, and limits street wall heights to 40 feet, and overall building heights to 50 feet. New developments in R6B districts are required to line up with adjacent structures to maintain a consistent street wall. New multifamily residences in R6B districts must provide off-street parking spaces for 50 percent of the dwelling units.

Central Parking Systems is currently managing the Armory Heights Plaza's parking garage which is only accessible by a large elevator . There is an uniformed attendant on duty who operates this elevator. There is an illuminated sign fixed to the outside of the building over the garage entrance indicating "PARK".
























































There are signs within the garage indicating hourly and monthly rates. There are handouts available at the corner grocery advertising these same rates. There is a sign attached to the light pole a few blocks away on the corner of Prospect Avenue and Eighth Avenue pointing in the direction of the Armory Heights Plaza garage.



















M Properties Group of Manhattan, LLC is seeking a long term rental tenant for the 8,200 square foot cellar level Community Facility. They specifically note that this 100' x100' residential rental development across from the Armory (the new Park Slope Sports Facility) has 80 parking spaces. This ad is several months old.























It certainly looks as if they are not hiding the fact that this is a commercial operation seeking outside automobiles to fill their parking spaces... Whether that's 22, 26, or 80 open spots we can't tell. It will make a difference in the amount of carbon monoxide produced if they plan on seducing drivers exiting the Prospect Expressway or spectators attending a track meet at the sports facility. The question of the legality of that backyard exhaust vent was answered. The DoB says it violates no building code nor zoning rule. I wonder if they ever considered the difference between a purely residential usage and one that may involve the passage of 80 cars one right after the other.
So, anyone have answers as to whether this usage is kosher? Please feel free to comment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We South Slopers anticipate drinking our $14 glasses of wine from hand made ceramic mugs.






































Two for four.
We lived, it was just the two of us back then, for five years in the early Nineties on Eleventh Street, just above Sixth Avenue, in a sunny two bedroom railroad apartment located on the second floor of a three family brick walk-up. In nineteen hundred and ninety four, the three of us moved farther south down to Sixteenth Street just below Eighth Avenue, and have been there ever since.
I walk by our old Eleventh St. place almost daily now on my way to Steve's C-Town on Ninth Street to shop for groceries. They always have good prices on apple juice, two for four dollars regardless of the season.
Today on my usual route I noticed a little something had changed. There was a display of hand built ceramic vessels forming a miniature city scape in a wooden store front's bay window. Without the big "PRINTING" sign covering the entire window, it's easy to forget that this was once the home of the recently, dearly departed, Henington Press printing shop.

Movable Type

In the window an old manual type writer is displayed, upon a single sheet of white paper, someone has written these double spaced lines:
Yes, we are changing...

Yes, we are keeping the window...

491six.com

A reference to the address, 491 Sixth Avenue no doubt, which can take you to this sparse web site *click* that informs you this space will, coming this Fall, be reincarnated as a... mystery solved...wine bar. You can also register to be placed on their snail mail-ing list here *click*.

























"He had a blood alcohol level of .491, that's 6 times the legal limit!"

When I saw that enigmatic window display it took me back to a time when McSweeney's Bookstore operated out of the same type of architecturally antiquated storefront-stage on Seventh Avenue, before they pretended to move to Fifth and go into the Super Hero Supply business. At the time they were one of the only places in the South Slope selling aphrodisiac/taxidermy supplies... glass eyes, potent bird beaks, talons, and the like. I purchased my paperback copy of Caring for Your Miniature Donkey there. Nobody knows more about trimming donkey hooves than Bonnie R. Gross. She saved me hundreds in farrier costs! Something that comes in handy when you're the father of Rosemary's Baby.

Today 429 Seventh Avenue is the home of the Hand of Glory tattoo parlor. That's were I got my Dave Eggars tramp stamp. (Father's Day is June 21st!)

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York Blog laments the closing of Hennington Press after ninety six years (three generations) at the same address, and directs us to this touching video and radio interview produced by WNYC radio.




























She's gone... Kluge has left the building.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Block Hole
















182 15th Street a.k.a. "The Katan Towers" before Board of Standards and Appeals July 2006 reversal of fortune. The official nuts and bolts BSA ruling brief for 182 15th st. can be found *here* in the archives of the South South Slope Community page.

Behold, recent pictures of the ongoing construction from both the 15th and 16th Street perspectives.*Click* on pictures to enlarge. There is still quite a bit of construction going on in the South Slope, despite the economy being what it is.




Job Type: NB - NEW BUILDING
182 15th Street Brooklyn, NY
BIN: 3337745 Block: 1047 Lot: 24

Job No: 301791318 Job Type / App No.: NEWB Fee: STANDARD
Permit No: 301791318-01-NB Issued: 06/08/2009 Expires: 10/10/2009
Seq. No.: 04 Filing Date: 06/08/2009 RENEWAL Status: ISSUED
Work: Proposed Job Start: 09/12/2005 Work Approved: 12/16/2004
NEW BUILDING -

Zoning: R6B
Use: J-2 - RESIDENTIAL APT HOUSE No. Dwellings: 31 Stories: 4
Total Floor Area: 74,385 Landmark: NO
Site Fill: ON-SITE
Review is requested under Building Code: 1968

Issued to: ASHER NEUMAN Tracking No: GC
Business: CIPCO DEVELOPERS INC Phone: 718-422-0496
320 ROEBLING STREET #623 BROOKLYN NY 11211

Superintendent of Construction: SHMUEL SPIELMAN
Business: C H DEVELOPMENT Phone: 718-302-2802
199 LEE SUITE 524 BROOKLYN NY 11211





















In this aerial view you can see how the construction site completely surrounds three very small 16th Street wood frame homes. Will this be the New Building's driveway entrance for their off street parking?





























As seen from the 15th Street side of the site. Sections of the older, existing Katan Tower foundation now have shrubbery growing from them.



























































Foundation work as seen from 16th Street side of the fence.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Squatters move in after $16 million Park Slope Armory renovation remains unused.














14th Street Derelicts in Residence

This tip comes to us from our good realtor friends at Acorncoran, whom apparently have an exclusive on this historic NYC landmark property.

Not one to waste an opportunity, it seems this couple has set up home directly over the newly replaced stone steps at the main entrance to the renovated $16 million Park Slope Armory Sports Facility. We are not sure how long these squatters have been living off that fixture, but judging by the guano pile, it's been awhile-- months, almost a year maybe. Coincidentally, that's just about how long the Armory has been left vacant and unused, while the powers that be figure out a way to run this facility and pay the bills at the same time.

As our broker friend points out, vacant poorly maintained buildings are not only unsightly and unattractive, they greatly reduce the value of neighboring properties.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Getting out in front of the problem... "The challenge before us is primarily one of compliance."

Breaking news: Independent engineering consultants have determined that NYC developers, contractors, and engineers, are failing to comply with existing Department of Buildings regulations and are causing catastrophic loss of life and damage to adjacent properties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Predictable but costly underpinning failures. Deficient design. Inadequate construction and supervision. General lack of monitoring site conditions...


And we here at IMBY were convinced it, (the root of all evil), had something to do with south Slope homeowners engaging in orgies of misconduct!














Please visit this DOB video link to hear Mr. Lynch's own words.

"In the last three years, there have been 13,000 new building permits in the city. Every new building has an excavation component, and for every new building, there are approximately three adjacent buildings impacted by the construction. Most of these buildings are on the lot line. That potentially equates to 40,000 neighbors being impacted by the new building. In response to the rise in excavation related incidents and collateral damage to the neighbor's buildings, the Department recognised the need to focus on excavation." -Timothy Lynch DoB Special Enforcement Forensic Engineer




































































































































"A typical self-certified Manhattan job... Hundreds of drawings of the new building, and virtually no information provided on the lot line. This is not our idea of good due diligence. Engineers should have provided this essential information to the general contractor to ensure that the general contractor understood what was on the lot line in congested neighborhoods.
The problem with this is that if there is a structural issue progressing with the neighbor, there is no way to check to see if it's progressing. You can't pick it up early enough." - Timothy Lynch
































"The challenge before us is primarily one of compliance with existing regulations."


A little background: In April of 2008 Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Buildings Commissioner LiMandri announced the launch of the High Risk Construction Oversight (HRCO) Study to analyze high-risk construction operations of concrete, cranes / hoists, and excavation. Over the past six months, a group of highly-specialized engineering experts have been conducting in-depth site inspections of materials, processes, and systems, while also reviewing the Department's current inspection protocols, to identify any necessary changes to industry practices as well as the Department’s oversight of these activities. During this process, the HRCO Engineers have been working with the Department and Industry in developing recommendations to expand the agency's efforts in making high-risk construction activities safer. BuildSafe New York: The NYC Department of Buildings’ New Vision for Safety provides participants with the opportunity to hear about the findings from the study experts themselves and to help craft the implementation of recommendations that will support a safer construction industry.




32% of sites visited had NO monitoring at all of adjacent properties.

"Over half of all design drawings had major deficiencies."

One in four sites with NO precondition surveys of adjacent properties. Those claiming to have surveys, the remaining 3/4, their surveys were found to be deficient.

36% of sites visited had significant problems with digging their foundation holes= hazardous conditions concerning the sheet shoring, bracing, and setting up of the site.

26% of sites visited had significant problems with underpinning. Problems with sequencing, layout, GROUND LOSS, approach pit, and dry packing.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Architectural Voyeurism #23: Fourth Avenue Veiled.





































"3 DOORS DOWN FROM THE ABOVE ADDRESS STYROFOAM IS BEING BLOWN THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD. CONSTRUCTION SITE HAS NOT TAKEN PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO CATCH ALL OF THE DEBRIS FLYING OFF THE BLDG" DOB LINK

Out of the hole. 1638 8th Avenue raises its iron.














Started in 2001, now eight epic years in the making, The Bobker Groups 1638 8th Avenue has finally begun to erect its iron skeleton within the poured concrete foundation. The unusual lot extends some 347 feet between Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place. Karl Fischer is the architect of record.  

We are expecting 27 condo units in all, to be built two stories (30') in height with some kind of additional Board of Standards and Appeals approved R5 residential zone bending roof decking to cap them off. Twenty off-street parking spaces have been approved with curb cuts on Eighth Avenue .  As always click on the pics to enlarge.





































































Click here: Visit the IMBY Archives for past posts on 1638 8th Avenue.