Monday, March 24, 2014

Violating a Stop Work Order

413 17th Street:  A Stop Work Order Violation for work without a permit from July of 2013 was disobeyed leading to the issuing of  another violation in January 2014. 
Metal lath has been fastened to the exterior wood siding and then a thin veneer of red brick has been set on top. The installation of the brick veneer has stopped leaving an unfinished border around the windows. The front parlor level doors have been removed.     

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stop Work Order Wednesdays: Speculator East River Partners 342 10th Street 15 Day letter to revoke.

432 10th Street in South Park Slope (center with brown cornice) sold for $1,600,000 back in March 2012.

  A great deal of the building is making its way into the dumpster.  Stop Work Violation posted.

The owners and developers of 432 10th Street, the East River Partners have received the dreaded Department of Buildings complaint notice


Not sure what the Stop Work Order Violation was issued for but the application is under current review.   The SWO violation paperwork is now posted on the fence but the website shows no DOB violations or Environmental Control Board violations or fines.

It could be something as simple as not filing all the correct paperwork like the Building Pavement Plan (BBP) or something much stinkier like a zoning issue or floor area kerfuffle.   
As of today a proper construction fence is up and contractors have started demolishing the front facade by removing the wooden bay. but  I can't vouch for what's going on behind closed doors or in the rear yard at this time.  You can see sky through the upstairs windows so the roof has been removed.  It appears that the interior has been gutted.  What appears to be an engineering monitor of some sort has been fastened to the front facade maybe to detect cracks or movement.  I would guess that the house next door may have been built at the same time so there may be some interconnectedness going on that they are watching.     There are no other complaints on record.  
A tedious 10 minute scan of the building's DoB property profile tells us that this Alt 1? job is hoping to engorge both horizontally and vertically an additional 4,434 square feet.  That's basically doubling what's there now.

They're getting two more floors on top as well as to push out into the rear yard.  So the residential  zoned R6B multifamily structure will go from a 3 to a 4 family and rise in height from 30 feet to 50 feet with permitted obstructions like bulkheads adding 10 feet more.  There will be a new Certificate of Occupancy. 

What complicates the buildable square feet equation some is that the developers have joined tax lots into a single zoning lot with their next door neighbor 430 10th Street.  This is usually done to increase the total size of the new building, if it works.  You can check out the zoning diagram below to see how the rear extension will line up to the neighboring properties.
Mezzanines...You heard me, there are going to be mezzanines with open floors looking out into the rear yard extension.  I think when the DOB plan examiners see that on the plans their eyes spin around in their heads.  This appears to also be a professionally self-certified job. That's like throwing gas on the fire.  
Foundation excavation work will be required for the rear extension.   It's looks like it's going to be a quadruple duplex with cellar recreation space.

The East River Partners have been getting a lot of press on how they have been aggressively investing in Brooklyn buying up non regulated multi-families for all cash and gut renovating them for the "bugaboo set".  ER Partners paid $1.6 million for 432 10 Street back in March of 2012.
 The Real Deal ran a story on them back in 2012.  

Extensive demolition taking place.  The roof is gone, the inside is gutted and I'm guessing the front facade is not far behind.  Can't see how the old faux-stone veneer can be removed from the brick without the walls crumbling.  How is it that there can be this much demolition of the existing structure and not have to be filed as a "New Building"?

Rendering: Christopher V. Papa Architect

Zoning Documents
4 dwelling units with Square Feet diagrammed

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stop Work Order for 383 12th Street

 South Slope Brooklyn

The owners of 383 12th Street, a long vacant hole in the ground, started work on a 4 story, 40 foot tall, 8 unit building, but then were stopped by the Brooklyn Department of Buildings.   Inspectors responding to a complaint apparently determined excavation for the building was encroaching on the neighboring property's foundation.   Currently there are 17 open Environmental Control Board violations on the property, 9 of which are for work without permits.  LINK

Stop Work Order: 426 17th Street

426 17th Street     Plans call for this diminutive 2 family to expand out through the roof with the existing attic converted to a full third floor.   This Alt-1 job is being professionally certified by the architect.  The Stop Work Order Violation was served after The Department of Buildings performed a compliancy audit and found work being done not according to approved plans. An Environmental Control Board Violation of $2,500 was served and paid by the contractor.   Interesting note, this building will be fully sprinklered.

Add caption

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Fourteenth Street Renovation: LOCALbrooklyn

14th Street South Slope Brooklyn: 

L O C A L brooklyn   Meret Lenzlinger Architect

Is this a trend in Park Slope South? I have noticed that in recent years quite a few two-family residential buildings in my neighborhood are being turned over by old timers and then converted into single families by their new owners.  There are four houses on my block alone that have made the transformation.  Back in the day, when the neighborhood was not so nice as they say, two family homes not occupied by their owners were often illegally sliced up into three units or more.
Is this just part of the gentrification process?  Do new homeowners no longer need the additional income from a rental apartment to help pay their mortgage? Maybe they don't want the headache of being a landlord.  
Or, maybe it's because a growing  family needs the entire 2,300 (plus or minus) square feet  these two story, basement, and cellar row houses can provide.  The South Slope did vote to limit it's building boom recently by down zoning from R6 to R6B.  The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) dropped from 2.43 to 2.00 with height and setback restrictions reducing the allowed buildable floor space and making it harder to add on stories to an existing home.  With all the new multifamily residential development built in Brooklyn in the last decade, I wonder how many housing units have been lost to three and two-family down sizing?  

Reducing Family Units to Increase Family Space
This house on 14th Street purchased back in November 2012 for $1,050,00 is doing just that. Architect Meret Lenzlinger of the firm LOCALbrooklyn has filed plans to change the certificate of occupancy from a two family to a one family.  Plans also call for a small single story addition off the rear of the building. I think it is common for new home owners to move the kitchen to the basement garden level and then opening up the rear facade with glass to allow more light into what is usually a dark floor.  There are a good number of residential renovations that can be seen on LOCALbrooklyn's website.  Their portfolio shows many such kitchen spaces.  

Looking forward to the restoration of the wood frame house.  No doubt it will be a great addition to the street scape.

In Process.  Tyvec has been installed after the front stoop and old layers of aluminum siding have been removed from this two story wood frame house.  The building was already missing its crowning cornice, but still has the original iron fence and gate.  This mid block house is the last in a row of similar wood frames probably all built at the same time.  The facade on the home next door looks as if it has been recently restored and is in perfect shape.
In comparing the upper story fenestration to the ground floor's,  you can see how much more interior light  will be gained by removing the old double hung aluminum windows and replacing them with new full frame windows installed stud to stud..  This works best, of coarse, when you don't have to worry about moving interior wood trim and moldings. 
I'm going to guess that the stoop will be rebuilt and the upper and lower entryways kept in place.  This is a great opportunity to reconfigure the basement entry under the stoop, usually a dark, damp, and cramped space inhabited by spiders and mosquitoes.  Many of these spaces are open to the weather and behind iron gates with restricting swings that make moving any kind of large piece of furniture almost impossible.  You really can't afford to waste even the tiniest space especially one near the front door.  
Front Yard   Plans call for a small green space in the front yard which I greatly prefer to the concrete one now in place.  As there is no street tree directly in front of the house, an appropriately sized, shade loving tree would be a welcoming addition.