Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The New 360 Smith Street: Better, Except For That Glass Tower!


Mr. Bill Stein and the new design for 360 Smith

Councilman Bill De Blasio

Full House At Mary Star Of The Sea

It may have been the brighter, cheerier surrounding of Saint Mary's Senior Residence instead of the gloomy funeral home where the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association had been meeting for decades, but last night's meeting actually felt like the community was speaking with one voice.
And this is what we all seemed to agree on:
Mr. Stein's redesigned building for 360 Smith Street looks better, much better.
But there is quite a lot of room for improvement.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
The big announcement of the evening was that Architect Robert Scarano and Mr. Stein parted ways back in December. The developer stated that he put the brakes on the project at "considerable expense."
After the last meeting with the community back in December, Mr. Stein changed direction and hired a new architect who could design the kind of project that Stein "could be proud of."
The new architect on the job is Armand Quadrini of K.S.Q. Architects. He was on hand
to give local residents a presentation of the project. This time, as opposed to the last meet with Mr. Stein, the press (and those "pesky" bloggers) were allowed to take pictures.
" Oliver House" as the project is currently being called, is still 70 feet tall at its highest point at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place. More care has been given by Quadrini to make the building fit in contextually by choosing materials that are more in line with a brownstone neighborhood.
Both the sides fronting Smith Street and Second Place are five story tall and are clad in a terra-cotta clay product. However, the 70 foot glass tower at the corner, right over the subway plaza, drew the biggest complaints from Carroll Gardeners. Described as too modern, institutional-looking or just plain too tall, Stein and his architect were urged to rethink that part of the building and to please not mix too many materials to prevent it from looking too "Hanna Senesh-y," a reference to the rainbow colored school next door.
Of course, developer Stein does not need to satisfy anyone but himself. However, he seemed to listen carefully to criticism and suggestions from the public.
As far as exactly when construction will begin, Mr. Stein stated that he will start as soon as he can "manage to get it moving again."
This may be wishful thinking. If the Place blocks are rezoned from 'wide blocks' to regular blocks before the foundation of the building is completely poured, Mr. Stein may have to rethink this building yet again and be prepared to scale it down significantly.
No wonder he is ready to get started!

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Anonymous said...

A correction Katia! Its impossible that Oliver House is 70 feet high at its highest corner. That is only rhetoric. Check out the sketch...its dimensions next to Hannah Senesh (which is already an easy fifty feet) give away a much better understanding of the true height being planned for Smith St. Oliver House will easily be up to 85 feet high with the set backs and equipment...this was confirmed by a local, and reputable architect in the audience....Also not shown in these pics is the CONTEXT for Oliver House! Smith Street is narrow (!) and how close that height is to the street! In other words "Oliver House" as we are now calling "360 Smith Street" is a giant vertical wall on Smith Street not set back at all from the sidewalk. Not contextual in its bulk and mass at all but using better "and more contextual" exterior treatments/materials than we saw last year. It's a giant loss for Second Street. And Mr. Stein never showed the BACK of his building which makes all the people on Second Place very nervous. What will their backyards look like when the back of Oliver House juts into them? Lastly I have heard that this newest architect recently replaced Mr Sacarano on another nearby job..funny thing that is....and also that the corner across from Mr Stein that Lee Brothers Auto Mechanics business is next.....will they compete for the highest building? I wonder? Will their future residents see "eye to eye" from way on high I wonder? who knows....

Kelly said...

Dear Anon,
I agree with you. Though Stein did say that it will be 70 feet high, in truth, by the time he adds all of the
machinery such as air conditioning, etc...
My main concern is the Smith Street side. There, the property is raised a few feet from street level. The drawings right now show a solid wall (in black) all along Smith with only one door opening. Pedestrians will feel
almost dwarfed by the sheer bulk of that stretch. I hope that the architect addresses the need of adding a few openings into the building, or like he said, add retail space such as a news stand.
All we can do is to call our elected officials and ask them to help move the reversal of the 'wide-street'issue ahead.
It should never have taken that long in the first place.....(hmmmm!)

Anonymous said...

I don't think the "wide street" issue really would have an impact on this development since I believe smith Street is already considered a wide street (over 75') - although I could be wrong. I know for a fact that Court Street is a wide street...

Anonymous said...

Actually its Second Place that is the narrow "place" block with the front gardens on it. The Oliver House has its entrance on Second Place. The project should be scaled down to be fair to the narrow streets.

Anonymous said...

The new building looks like what would happen if you crossed a brownstone on steroids with the House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Who's beholding to Mr. Stein?

Anonymous said...

LOL typical "building-centric" head-up-the-ass architects. If I've seen one, I've seen two-dozen of these vultures.

The most clueless members of any community. Vermin.

In design school they wore black berets--and quoted esoteric authors--now they wear metallic purple ties and . . oh my god, show these bums to the door. Architects. Absolute idiots.

Geezuz. They're always thinking of their next job, these penny-ante firms. Wretches!


Anonymous said...

What power does a community have??? We struggled for nine months with the so called support of allour politicians to have the 360 building lowered and find out that it has been raised higher. No longer 43 units, now 49 units, no longer 70 ft. Ht. limit, now above 80ft. Markowitz, DeBlasio, Millman........does Stein control you?????????????WHAT A DISGRACE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Quality housing development allows a FAR of 3.0 on a wide street (75 feet wide or more) or any corner lot next to a wide street (Smith St.). The CM's suggestion for redefining the "Places" is useless smokescreen to make him appear as if he's interested.

Quality housing limits height up to 70 feet with exceptions ... read on.

In R6 zoning, height factor developments of 11-18 stories allows a FAR of 2.4 on wide and narrow streets. Height factor housing has no height limit but if you exceed 18 floors, you would build less space so it is doubtful we'll see many 19 story buildings in R6 zoning anytime soon.

Quality housing has a 70 foot height limit and requires a 30 foot rear yard unless it is a corner lot, where there's a maximum of 65% lot coverage akin to the height factor open space requirement.

This rear yard can be filled with parking or a garage with a height limit of 23 feet. Zoning resolution sections 23-62 and 23-621 "Permitted Obstructions" explains how dormers allow you to breach the 70-ft height limit by a small amount of occupied space and how mechanical space is allowed to exceed 70 feet.

Community facilities (doctor's offices, schools, religious facilities, etc) add floor area. When developed with housing, 1.0 of FAR can be added to the development. Often, developers build a community facility (CF) that encloses the entire ground floor, up to 23 feet, including 100% of the rear yard (+/-1.0 FAR) in addition to the FAR for residential space above.

Another trick is to excavate the rear yard and construct another floor below grade, without including plumbing fixtures on that floor, just pipes in the "closet space". After the condo is sold, such "closet space" space is converted to another bathroom by the owner. Best neighborhood example is the "lofts" apartments on Luquer between Smith and Court.

The Scarano building on Third Street between Smith and Hoyt Streets takes advantage of these bonuses and the CVS on Court looks like they must have filed community facility use as some part of that building to achieve that bulk.

Five stories is the maximum height developers may build without an elevator so it is often more profitable to build deep into the rear yard instead of the 70 feet. It is debatable if a taller building is more negative than one that is 20 ft deeper than all others on the block but there's good examples on 3rd / 4th places.

Anonymous said...

A backlash seems to be brewing against Mr Stein and his new Scacaro-esque architect buddy/cronie....who has followed Mr Scarano elsewhere recently...Presumably to bail him out and still pass along some of the goodies....Yes!! nine months is too long too fight to get nothing...neither from the developer nor the POL who surely lines his pockets....what has happened to our community? It's like a hostile take-over by a giant corporation and what is the remedy? Shall we all form some LLC's and buy our own streets back?? grrrr
The all build as tall as possible to block the developers' buildings' great views?

Anonymous said...

The reason why you haven't gotten anywhere is Councilman Bill De Blasio has been too busy meeting with Toll Brothers striking a deal to add 577 apartments on the Gowanus Canal.

This project is timed to complete ULURP before Bill leaves office.

The project offers no retail amenities, no school benefits, and the entire project sits on a parking structure, completly disconnected from the street.

Dead walls will continue to provide the safe haven for the prostitutes and drug deals currently happening on Carroll-1st-2nd Streets but now they will have new customers! Read on: