Archive for the tag 'construction'

Source: Murdock Solon

Source: Murdock Solon

A real estate management company linked to the owner of one of the city’s leading necktie manufacturers and wholesalers has taken over a swath of Kings Highway real estate, with plans to redevelop the property into a five-story retail and office development.

Several stores on the northern side of the corridor, from East 16th Street to East 17th Street, have shuttered in recent months, including the area’s McDonald’s restaurant. The building appears to still be owned by Kingsway Realty, according to city records, which has had its name inscribed on the facade since taking over the property in 1973.

1601-1607 Kings Highway, where several stores have shuttered in recent months to make way for redevelopment.

1601-1607 Kings Highway, where several stores have shuttered in recent months to make way for redevelopment. (Photo by Ned Berke)

Now plans are being considered by the Department of Buildings to tear down the two-story structure occupying the 17,880-square-foot lot, originally built in 1930, and replace it with a brand new facility, anchored by two floors of retail shopping and three floors of office space.

The building is being designed by the architectural firm of Murdock Solon. Renderings on their website show an ultra-modern design, featuring large bulked-out windows, a patterned facade and setbacks with rooftop gardens to be viewed by the office workers on the upper levels.

With escalators drawn into the middle of the retail space, it appears the developer may be aiming to attract a large retail tenant to occupy the bulk of the space.

There is parking for 25 vehicles and five bicycles in the basement level of the property, according to documents submitted to the DOB. The new building will stand 79 feet tall, and have 67,355 square-feet of space.

Although Kingsway appears to still be the owner of the property according to ACRIS, the online database of the City Register, the plans were submitted to the DOB on behalf of Lake Realty Inc., naming Walter Schik as the officer.

Schik is an Austrian-Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi persecution. Resettled in New York, he founded Bentley Cravats in 1947, which manufactures neckties, bow ties and other neckware.

Lake Realty Management LLC, which appears to be the official name of the company as registered with the state, manages a handful of properties in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including a nearby apartment building at 1233 East 19th Street.

Calls to Schik’s office were not returned.

The plans for the new five-story building were rejected in March, with the Department of Buildings stating that the drawings were incomplete. Calls to Murdock Solon for a status update were not returned.

Photos via Murdock Solon.

Source: Wikimedia Common

Source: Wikimedia Common

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled details of his hotly anticipated overhaul of Superstorm Sandy recovery operations yesterday, committing the administration to getting 500 Build it Back checks in the mail and 500 construction projects kicked off before the end of the summer.

In addition to getting the long-delayed aid to some of the 20,000 homeowners in the Build it Back system, the plan calls for expanding the eligibility of those seeking aid, including eliminating priority levels so that income is no longer a cause for disqualification from several Build it Back recovery options.

“We’ve laid out a blueprint to provide critical financial relief to homeowners and directly engage communities in the rebuilding process—all while continuing our work to ensure a stronger and more resilient New York,” said de Blasio in a press release.

The New York Times reports:

Under the new rules, about 4,000 more residents than initially planned will be eligible to receive compensation from the government for repairs they have already performed on damaged homes. Hundreds more will be eligible to receive the full value of their property if they decide to vacate.

By the end of summer, the mayor said, the city planned to have started construction on 500 new homes and to have mailed out 500 reimbursement checks for previously performed repairs. As of Thursday, only 30 residents had received the payments.

The report, titled “One City, Rebuilding Together” and which can be read in full here, also calls for reassigning Department of Buildings inspectors to support Build it Back efforts, offering relief from city water bills for vacant homes, and providing tax relief to Sandy-impacted residents, among other proposals.

Aside from just doling out money and getting projects underway, the city is developing a plan to house residents displaced by recovery construction at their homes.

Several proposals are also being pushed to increase coordination and communication, including the appointment of borough directors and locally-based Build it Back staff.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island and is chairman of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, praised the report but noted that residents need to see action, not proposals.

“I understand that this administration has only been in place for a few months, but the reality is that it has been 18 months and counting for residents struggling to rebuild and get back on their feet,” said Treyger in a statement. “The bottom line is that this recovery will ultimately be judged not by announcements and presentations, but by action on the ground in communities still feeling the impact of the storm. We must make sure that local residents and organizations are included in this process so they have an active role in the rebuilding of their own neighborhoods.”

Conservation groups, meanwhile, criticized the plan for focusing too much on recovery, and not enough on protecting coastal communities from future disasters.

A home in Seagate after Sandy. (Photo by Erica Sherman)

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the formation of a Sandy Oversight Unit this morning, with its first task slated to be an audit of the Build it Back recovery program.

Stringer is targeting the program in the wake of headlines earlier this year that noted money has been distributed and construction started in only a handful of cases nearly a year after Build it Back’s launch, despite nearly 20,000 homeowners on the wait-list.

The unit will be looking to see if the Housing Recovery Office – the program that oversees Build it Back – has set goals and timetables for the delivery of services and established procedures to reduce the backlog of applications. It will also look at the quality of the service and review fraud prevention procedures, with a focus on the Single Family Program.

The Oversight Unit will draw from the Comptroller’s Audit, Contracts, Budget and Policy Units, with an overall goal of reviewing how federal aid has been spent, making recommendations to reduce fraud, waste and abuse, monitoring the progress of Sandy projects and proposing policy recommendations for managing the financial tracking in future emergencies.

To aid the review, Stringer is holding Town Hall meetings across Sandy-stricken neighborhoods to hear from residents about the problems they face. The following locations and dates have been set:

  • April 30 in Breezy Point from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Bay House, 500 Bayside Drive, Breezy Point, NY
  • May 6 in Coney Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
  • May 20 in the Rockaways from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 348 Beach 71st Street, Arverne, NY
  • May 28 in Staten Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Olympia Activity Center (OAC), 1126 Olympia Blvd., Staten Island, NY

Mayor Bill de Blasio is already seeking to increase the efficiency of the program, announcing today that his office has completed a report that will kickstart the process, getting money out to homeowners faster. Details of those reforms will be made public later today.

Meanwhile, the mayor is also seeking to slash the property tax bills of 1,500 city residents who have rebuilt or repaired their homes since Superstorm Sandy. He announced yesterday that his office is pushing for support in Albany to provide a property tax credit for Sandy victims.

Construction and renovations to a home can trigger a higher assessment value, even if it’s solely for Sandy recovery. The bill would allow the city to grant partial property-tax abatement to nullify the higher assessed value from those repairs.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

To be eligible, homeowners would have to meet three criteria. First, the city had to reduce the valuation of the homeowner’s property in fiscal year 2014 from the value in 2013 because of Sandy damage. Second, the city would have had to increase the assessed value of the property for fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014. And, lastly, the 2015 assessed value of the building must exceed 2013′s.

While the city controls its property-tax rate, the Legislature and governor must approve special abatements like this.

The mayor has six weeks to gather support and pass the reforms before city property tax bills are delivered.

3041-ocean2

A new premier, luxury, incredible, modern, state-of-the-art condominium development is headed to 3041 Ocean Avenue, between Voorhies Avenue and Jerome Avenue.

The former site of a medical center (minus one of those, natch), fencing went up at the site a few weeks ago, and a fancy-shmancy rendering of the site has been posted.

And, all my broker-babble derision aside, it actually looks pretty nice.

The Department of Buildings approved the plan on March 17. It’ll feature nine floors in all. The top seven stories will be home to 40-units (six on six of the floors, four on the top floor).

If you’re thinking, “Oh, great, I bet there’ll be a medical office on the first two floors,” well, you’re wrong. It looks like this developer is actually paying attention to the fact that they’re in a flood zone, and the ground level floor will be used for a lobby and garage for 30 cars and 20 bicycles, with flood-proofed storage space.

The second floor will have parking for 27 cars (including dedicated handicapped spots). This is where they’ll also be putting the mechanical equipment and boilers to protect them from potential flooding.

For those keeping track, that’s 40 units and 57 parking spaces, plus parking for 20 bicycles. Zoning for this lot requires only 20 parking spaces. So, yes, someone in this neighborhood actually put more parking than is legally required! Hell hath frozen over!

Moving on, the roof will not be dormant. The plans call for an “outdoor recreation area.”

The new owner, an LLC connected to local entrepreneur Sergey Rybak (one of the partners in the $20 million MatchPoint NYC sports development on Shell Road), bought the 12,650 square-foot lot in September 2013 for $4.1 million.

It’s too soon to say how much units here might cost. A note on the sign said more information will become available in September 2014.

3041-ocean

7 Corbin Place (Source: Google Maps)

7 Corbin Place (Source: Google Maps)

Plans for a seven-story mixed-use building at 7 Corbin Place have neighbors ticked off, and opponents are plotting a grassroots challenge to get the city to nix the proposal.

The eight-unit building will include medical offices and “community facilities” on the lower floors, and is compliant with zoning. But neighbors say it will increase traffic, exacerbate parking issues and cause structural problems for an adjacent building at 9 Corbin Place, with which it’ll share a chimney.

“Our main concern is that … they’re planning a medical office and community center for senior citizens, and that’s what everyone’s nervous about because traffic there is already a nightmare,” said Corbin Place resident Galina Zhitomirsky.

Zhitomirsky noted that seven streets already feed into Corbin Place. The building itself is wedged adjacent to two other intersections, and Corbin Place is the terminus for several blocks including Brighton 13th Street, Brighton 14th Street and others. During the summer, she said, parking is already a nightmare as it’s the second street with year-round parking for Manhattan Beach patrons, since visitors can’t use that neighborhood’s streets. Furthermore, Zhitomirsky noted the presence of P.S. 225 around the corner, which further adds to congestion and parking issues. “Corbin Place is very congested as it is and to have medical offices and labs and a senior citizen center; it’d be a nightmare.”

The site is the intersection of three streets. (Source: Google Maps)

The site is the intersection of three streets. (Source: Google Maps)

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz publicly joined the fight yesterday, issuing a press release criticizing the developers for taking advantage of zoning laws and being inconsiderate of neighbors.

“Just because something is ‘as of right’ doesn’t mean it’s in the best interests of the community,” Cymbrowitz said in the press release.

The building will be located at the intersection of Corbin Place, Cass Place and Brighton 12th Street on the Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach – Manhattan Beach border. According to the local pol, a nearby outpatient drug treatment center on Brighton 12th Street already brings a glut of ambulettes to the block.

“Traffic and parking here are a nightmare. Throw in the additional ambulettes dropping off and picking up patients, people using the community facilities and residents with more than one car and what you end up with is a situation that is a quality-of-life nightmare,” said Cymbrowitz. He added that nearly 50 neighbors have contacted his office about the building.

The assemblyman has requested a Department of Transportation traffic study, and will soon turn to the Department of City Planning to reduce the zoning for that particular tax lot.

The building itself is classified as a six-story building – keeping it within zoning guidelines. It’s six stories plus a ground floor that will not be used as livable space, a height bonus allowed for by regulations for developments in flood vulnerable areas. The ground level will be used for parking and storage.

Neighbors are organizing a meeting tonight in the community room of 134 West End Avenue at 7:30 p.m. to further map out their opposition. They’ve confirmed the attendance of several local elected officials, and are mulling whether to take their fight before the community board later this month.

“Everyone we’ve talked to has been very against this,” said Zhitomirsky. “We’re listening to Cymbrowitz’s office and everyone else to see what they recommend we do.”

The property’s owner, however, has not been invited.

“We’re not even sure who they are,” said Zhitomirsky.

City records indicate that the 4,095-square-foot lot, with the two-story home, was purchased in December for $1,225,000. The buyer purchased the house under a generically named limited liability corporation, but the address is shared by Maximillion Realty at 101 Avenue U. The Department of Buildings approved the construction plans on January 16, 2014.

Alex Novikov, an agent at Maximillion Realty, confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that he is one of the owners. He added that he has no intention of bending to neighbors’ concerns.

“They already came many times to the Department of Buildings. They got many answers already. They’re a little bit out of their minds, that’s all,” Novikov said. “This is a question to the commissioner of the Buildings Department. It has nothing to do with the newspaper … We’re going to move forward according to the plans approved by the Buildings Department.”

Source: www.ny.curbed.com

Rendering of the completed development.

We’ve written before about Brighton Beach’s Bright ‘N Green development, a sustainable residential development with state-of-the-art green design.

The eco-friendly building at 67 Brighton First Lane was approaching completion last fall, and the six units ranging in price from $325,00 to $850,000 hit the market in November.

No one has bought one yet, but the building has drawn the eyes of environmentalists, who are praising it for its net positive design, meaning it will actually sell energy back into the grid. It also has a number of other features, like an independent sewage system that composts human waste for the gardens outside, massive solar panels, sustainable and recycled materials and more – while not sacrificing luxury.

The features have earned it certification for LEED, EPA, four Green Globes and other honors for environmental design. It’s currently in the running for Living Building certification, the most extreme building standard in the nation, and if it earns it Bright ‘N Green will be the first multifamily development in the country to do so.

But while such things might normally attract endless chatter in the design and environmental cliques, it’s the developer himself who has tongues wagging.

As we’ve noted before, Robert Scarano isn’t the most reputable character in New York City real estate. A decade ago, the architect was banned by the Department of Buildings for submitting false and misleading paperwork, and he spurred a crackdown on and reforms of the self-certification process. He became the poster child for abuses in over-development and the Building Department’s lax oversight.

The Daily News recently toured the development with Scarano, and depicted him as a brash egomaniac determined to reinvent himself as an eco-warrior.

Here are a few choice quotes from the piece:

  • “The air in this building is better than the air in a Columbia-Presbyterian surgical suite,” Scarano boasted on a recent tour. “The water is like if you put a spoon in the Catskill reserves.”
  • “It’ll look like that National Geographic documentary about what would happen if the people left and all the plants took over,” Scarano joked. “It’s totally different than the projects I used to do.”
  • Scarano said the hullaballoo was merely a matter of interpretation of the zoning law … “Quite frankly, I said I did nothing wrong, but I guess I must have done something wrong to be vilified like that,” Scarano says today.
  • With that gleam in his eye, Scarano is proud to show off [the sewage composting] technology, opening the lid and declaring, “That’s the worker doo-doo by the way.” Next, in a moment of TMI, he declares: “I got the honor of christening it!

With the units having been on the market for five months without a sale (and, in fact, an increase in price), we’ll be keeping an eye on these units in an area less than well known for environmental consciousness. And once people move in, we’re eager to find out just how well those systems hold up.

Rendering of the interior of one of the one bedroom lofts.

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

Sixteen months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and the damaged lights on the Belt Parkway from Knapp Street to Mill Basin remain in the dark. But not for much longer if the Department of Transportation keeps its word.

According to a Daily News item last week, the city will begin bringing lights back to the area in April. It’s a $400,000 project that should be covered with federal funds, and the project is slated to be completed in May.

“This is a huge problem, especially due to the potholes, which made it difficult for motorists,” City Councilman Alan Maisel told the paper. “It’s outrageous.”

Of course, the DOT’s word is hardly its bond. The DOT had previously promised then-Assemblyman Maisel and his Council predecessor Lew Fidler that the lighting situation would be permanently fixed by fall of 2013 – and that temporary lighting would be provided in the interim. Neither of those things happened.

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo has stated at meetings the she was told by the DOT that the plan for temporary lighting was ultimately nixed because they required gas generators. The city did not want to dispatch employees to keep them stocked with gasoline.

1616sheepshead

The Enterprize Gift & Jewelry store has moved from its 1601 Sheepshead Bay Road location across the street to 1616 Sheepshead Bay Road, co-locating with a new salon named Deniz Hair Salon. That storefront was previously occupied by J’Adore Paris, which closed in December.

It’s the latest business to move out of the strip from the northern side of Sheepshead Bay Road between East 16th Street and Jerome Avenue, leaving Anatolian Gyro as the last remaining tenant of the building. As we’ve previously reported, Anatolian Gyro will soon move to 2623 East 16th Street, just around the corner.

The exodus is due to the landlord’s plans to renovate the strip. The landlord, Waldorf Realty, is also renovating two other stretches on and near Sheepshead Bay Road, leaving many vacant storefronts as it prepares for construction.

The other stores in this building were Eye Appeal, which already moved to 1508 Sheepshead Bay Road, and Zeetron, an electronics repair shop that never reopened after Superstorm Sandy.

Waldorf recently started prepping another Sheepshead Bay Road property at Voorhies Avenue last fall, containing six ground-floor businesses, for a face-lift. They’re also nearing completion on a renovation of another batch of storefronts on the corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street.

enterprize

loehmanns

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The owners of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) have submitted plans to the Department of Building to construct a new extension to the controversial building, leaving those who fought its initial construction nearly 20 years ago in a state of shock.

The proposed extension would add a new story of commercial offices, totaling 10,000 square feet. The plans are in violation of zoning and the property’s current variance, and will soon be considered by Community Board 15 and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

One of the property’s owners, Alex Levin, confirmed the expansion.

“We’re looking to expand office space,” he said. “We’re going to bring the elevator up to [a new third] floor. We have our reasons.”

The project’s architect, Robert Palermo, declined to discuss the plans.

“It’s privileged information. When it comes before the board, it’ll be public,” he said.

There is no date set yet for a public hearing at Community Board 15, the first step to obtaining any variance. Chairperson Theresa Scavo said she had not yet been notified by the Board of Standards Appeals.

As a resident, though, she was shocked to learn of the plan.

“Speaking personally, it was against the special Sheepshead zoning district to begin with, and to add a floor is a slap in the face to the people of Sheepshead Bay,” she said. “I cannot believe that adding another floor is going to give the Bay a better look with that monstrosity there.”

The building sits within the Sheepshead Bay special zoning district, which limits the size and use of structures along the Emmons Avenue waterfront. The area is limited to waterfront and tourist-related activities, and special density and height limits govern development.

Many longtime Sheepshead Bay activists credit the development of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the 1990s as the death of the special district, having won a variance that, according to those who fought it, resulted in it being 800 percent larger than legal limits. The exception was won due to the promise of the retail giant Loehmann’s as an anchor tenant, justifying jobs and commercial draw in exchange for its waiver.

Loehmann’s went bankrupt and vacated the property last month.

Bay Improvement Group Steve Barrison, one of the development’s most vocal opponents, said the new application is history repeating itself.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” he said. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Barrison added that there’s little legal justification to allow the variance simply for office space. According to the law, a developer must show that they suffer from certain hardships, as found in section 72-21 of New York’s Zoning Resolution.

“It’s insensitive to the whole community after Sandy,” said Barrison. “All of the people who haven’t moved in or are still rebuilding and trying to get their lives together. Now [this developer] wants to go and build and increase zoning some more when people can’t speak up.”

If Bay Improvement Group decides to fight the variance, they’ll be fighting a different developer than they did in the 1990s. The building was sold to Levin in 2008 for $24 million, a local real estate record at the time.

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

After a long and bitter battle with Homecrest neighbors, the Department of Buildings has ordered the owner of a home being built on East 12th Street to submit new plans or tear the house down, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz announced today.

The home at 1882 East 12th Street has been the site of sour relations for eight years, with local advocates and neighbors saying that the building is not only built outrageously beyond zoning restrictions, but in a dangerous manner.

The property owner, Joseph Durzieh, classified the construction as an alteration when filing plans to do the DOB. But the building appears to be a entirely new structure built around a one-story bungalow – but without the necessary foundation to keep it stable. Critics say it should have been classified as a new construction – and forced to seek permission to construct a building that towers over its neighbors.

The property owner has previously received stop work orders and restraining orders, and a Kings County Supreme Court judge called the city agency’s decision to allow construction to proceed “arbitrary and capricious.”

“For eight years the people of East 12th Street battled the Board of Standards and Appeals, battled the Department of Buildings and battled a bureaucracy that seemed stacked against them even though common sense was on their side,” Cymbrowitz said in a press release. “Anyone who saw this five-story monster of a house at 1882 East 12th Street knew it didn’t belong there. Neighbors lost sleep because they imagined the structure falling down around them. At last, justice has prevailed.”

Cymbrowitz met with Brooklyn Buildings Commissioner Ira Gluckman in January, during which Gluckman expressed “deep concerns that the architect’s plans did not accurately deal with structural issues in the building,” and the agency issued a stop work order.

Now the department has requested an emergency declaration to raze the building, giving the owner 60 days to submit new plans or tear down the home. If Durzieh fails to comply, the city will send a wrecking ball – and a bill to Durzieh for the work.

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