Archive for the tag 'construction'

bridge

The Belt Parkway is about to get a little more congested, as the highway is slated to lose one lane at Bay Ridge Avenue beginning tomorrow night.

The lane closures will begin at 11:00 p.m., on Friday, May 30. The eastbound and westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway at Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge (Exit 1) will be shifted. The eastbound roadway, currently three lanes, will be reduced to two travel lanes. Meanwhile, the two travel lanes of the westbound roadway will be narrowed and shifted to the left-center of the bridge.

These changes are being done to allow for the establishment of a work zone at the existing right and center of the Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge in order to begin the first stage of the bridge rehabilitation.

The bridge’s overhaul is part of the city’s Seven Bridges project, a large-scale renovation of seven spans on the Belt Parkway that began in 2009. Several of the bridges are already near completion, and the beginning of the Bay Ridge Avenue work marks the final phase of the project.

The existing bridge at Bay Ridge Avenue will be reconstructed using pre-cast concrete deck sections. The clearance will be increased to 14-feet 6-inches, which removes the need for clearance signs currently posted for a substandard condition. Also the new deck will eliminate the need for under deck wood shielding, according to a DOT fact sheet on the project.

According to the fact sheet, work on this bridge was slated to begin in June 2013 and wrap up in February of 2015, but a DOT representative told this outlet that it will now be closer to the beginning of 2016. All construction related to the seven bridges project is expected to be completed by mid-2017, with landscaping wrapping up in 2019.

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

Source: NYCDOT

On one night between Monday, May 12, and Friday, May 16, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Division of Bridges will close lanes of the eastbound Belt (Shore) Parkway bridge over Mill Basin to restore the asphalt on the roadway surface.

Lane closures will be in effect from 11:01 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. the following morning. One lane of traffic will remain open at all times. A variable message sign will be installed to alert motorists.

For all NYC non-emergency services, including inquiries regarding NYCDOT construction projects, dial 311. Be prepared to give your name, the borough of the project, and a return phone number.

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

For eight years Homecrest residents have been bemoaning the erection of what has come to be known as “the monstrous tower” or “Homecrest tower.” The owner of the residential building, located on 1882 East 12th Street, Joseph Durzieh, called it an addition. Call it what you will, the unsightly structure will be removed, according to a report from the Brooklyn Daily.

Back in March, the Department of Buildings ordered the structure to be taken down or submit new plans. The owner chose the latter, and engineer James W. Feuerborn of firm Thornton Tomasetti will draw up plans to tear down the structure, department officials told Brooklyn Daily.

It’s hard to know where to start with such a controversial erection. But one thing can be said for sure, it sure is an ugly appendage. The two-story home is built atop a crumbling bungalow, and at 43 feet tall, it towers over nearby homes that stand a little over 20 feet tall, which led to many residents calling the structure unsafe.

In summer in 2o13, residents of the community won a long-fought victory in their battle against the landlord when a state judge ordered the city to re-examine building plans from “a shady developer” who, at the time, had attempted to erect a 53-foot addition to his Homecrest home.

At the time we wrote:

Judge Yvonne Lewis had sided with neighbors who called for a halt to the project. The judge didn’t have the authority to tear down the structure but had ordered the BSA to re-examine the case. Durzieh had argued that he had the proper permits to make the alterations, claiming that he was building a new addition for his family. Neighbors argued that this was unlikely considering that Durzieh tore down most of his house to accommodate the addition and that his plans called for the installation of an exterior staircase and an elevator. The speculation was that Durzieh was looking to build and rent out condos.

Around the same time, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz expressed his distaste for the extra large piece. In a press release he admonished the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) for allowing the continued construction. He also cited issues of safety as a major complaint in his opposition to the construction.

For now, everyone can breathe easy and not have to live life in the shadow of such a huge object.

Ed Eisenberg will be remembered with a street co-naming in Manhattan Beach.

Bullet Points” is our format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.

Ed, Immortal: Community Board 15 unanimously voted to support a proposal to co-name Kensington Street at Oriental Boulevard after longtime activist Ed Eisenberg, who passed away in March.

The proposal came at the request of Eisenberg’s wife, Eileen, who still resides on the block, and his sons Leigh and Glenn, through the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

When the proposal came up at Tuesday night’s meeting, it received resounding support from the Board members who cheered on the idea of honoring the local mensch who devoted so much of his life to Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities.

Eisenberg passed away suddenly in March at the age of 79. He’s fondly remembered for his 40-year record of advocacy on behalf of local parks and civic groups, as well as his personal quirks and amusing costumes.

“I think if anyone deserves it, it’s him,” Chairperson Theresa Scavo told Sheepshead Bites in an interview after the meeting. “He loved this community and did everything he could to make it better.”

A letter stating the Board’s support will be sent to Councilman Deutsch’s office, who will bring it to the City Council for review by the Parks Committee, and ultimately a floor vote. It’s expected to pass without resistance.

Zoning Items:

  • 3540 Nostrand Avenue: The McDonald’s location on this had to request a special permit to continue running a business here because there is a drive-through, which can cause dangerous traffic problems if it isn’t run correctly. The Board approved the permit since there have been no recorded incidents – like a car accident – in relation to the drive-through.
  • 116 Oxford Street: The board approved a proposal to enlarge the living space of a residential home. This residential building was hit by Superstorm Sandy. As part of the new city regulations, houses in flood zones must be raised four feet, causing some, including this one, to lose its basement. The homeowners sought to raise the house to 35 feet, which will push the rear and side yards out.
  • 174 Falmouth Street: This building is “another obvious Sandy victim,” the lawyer that represented this and the other two applicants. The Board voted to allow this home increase its floor area ratio, which requires a special permit.

Other information:

  • The Board shared the news that the building on 1882 East 12st Street is going to be demolished.
  • Board member Ira Tepper pointed out that Councilman Chaim Deutsch hasn’t visited any of the Board’s meetings since being elected. “Is there any reason why he’s dissing us?” Tepper asked Deutsch’s representative.
  • Con Edison will be pruning trees over the next three months to keep limbs from rubbing up against electric wires.
  • Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo railed against the fact that liquor stores are not required to inform the Board upon their opening. The Board then passed a resolution to urge local politicians to pass a law requiring liquor license to notify the Community Board.
  • The Sanitation Department will be power washing the Sheepshead Bay station to remove all the “muck.”
  • On the debate of who’s responsible for that small, but annoying, sliver of land under the train overpasses of the B/Q lines: The area, according to the Sanitation Committee, is a problem all-year-round. Who is in charge of cleaning the waste that collects there? And in the winter, who is in charge of shoveling the snow? The committee is trying to settle this debate; although, exactly how something like this is solved wasn’t explained.

Correction (May 1, 2014): The original version of this article originally stated that the Board passed a resolution urging legislation requiring liquor stores to seek approval for their license through the Community Board. That was inaccurate; the resolution they passed was urging legislation that required notification only. Also, there was a typo in the address of the home to be demolished. Both have been corrected.

Johnny Rockets is just one of the new franchises headed to Surf Avenue. (Source: Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

With less than a month to go before beach season kicks off, a slew of construction is going on over in Coney Island with the hopes of having new restaurants and attractions ready in time.

Aside from the construction of the Thunderbolt roller coasterAmusing the Zillion points out that several businesses are in the works.

Among them are two mom-and-pop businesses: Lunatic Ice Cream and Luna Park Cafe are currently under construction on Surf Avenue and both aim to open in May, the site reports.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the “new” Coney Island if it didn’t include more franchises. The neighborhood received an Applebee’s and It’Sugar last year, adding to Popeye’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s.

But there are several more in the works, according to Amusing the Zillion. Currently under construction are Johnny Rockets, Burger-Fi, Subway Cafe and Red Mango.

Tricia at AtZ has been documenting the construction, and gives some background on those locations. Check it out.

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.”

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