Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SURPRISE!!!!! New Permit Issued For 333 Carroll Street, The Building With The Growth On Top


Something "fishy" going on at 333-335 Carroll Street

Karl Fischer takes over as architect and self-certifies permit renewals

No building in Carroll Gardens illustrated the need for a neighborhood down-zoning better than the condo conversion at 333-335 Carroll Street, between Hoyt and Bond Streets. Back in 2005, owner Issac Fischman hired bad boy architect Robert "Mezzanine" Scarano to convert an old brick manufacturing building into a 31 unit condo. As part of the plans, a two story, 40 foot steel addition was erected on top of the old structure.

Alarmed residents asked the NYC Department of Buildings to review the plans, which revealed that Robert Scarano had been more than creative with the floor-air-ratio calculations. The Building's Department confirmed in March 2008, that the architect has lied on the application, claiming that the cellar was a basement. Scarano intended to use the "habitable" basement for parking and had transferred the square footage onto the roof.

The building's owner fired Scarano and the site was slapped with a full stop work order on March 4th 2008. Since that time, the empty building has been dormant.
In the meantime, the neighborhood got organized and with the help of the Department of City Planning, was able to down-zone Carroll Gardens, in order to protect this historical neighborhood from out-of-scale developments such as 333-335 Carroll Street.
Unlike the original R6 zoning, the new R6B zoning has a 50 foot height limit.
The City Council voted unanimously for the re-zoning on October 28, 2009. It went into effect immediately.

Unbeknown to local residents, the building's owner hired another controversial architect, Karl Fischer, to resolve his building's woes. Fischer, the architect behind the 11 story 'finger' at 100 Luquer street, filed for an amendement, which he self-certified. The record show an audit was accepted on October 16, just days before the new R6B zoning went into effect. It is still unclear how Fischer was able to solve the original Floor-Area-Ratio problem. The owner may have bought some air rights from other buildings. He may also have added an Ambulatory Diagnostic Health Facility, which may have given him bonus F.A.R. under the old zoning. (Under the new R6B zoning, that would not have helped.)

new building permit has been issued on November 5, 2009 for:
Proposed conversion of existing manufacturing building to residential with
additional floors, as per Article 7B MDL, including the removal and
construction of interior & exterior bearing & non-bearing partitions, plumbing fixtures, finishes, cabinetry & casework, complete repiping of building.

If indeed, the audit and the permits were filed and approved before the Carroll Gardens re-zoning on October 28th, the developer got them in under the wire. That would be incredibly unfortunate for the neighborhood.

However, given the history of the site and the willful misleading by the developer to get more building than he is entitled to, it would seem appropriate for the Buildings Department to take a very careful look at all the paperwork.

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Plow to Plate said...

What can we do? What stopped this last time was deBlassio getting involved, wasn't it? I wonder if he can do anything in his new role as public advocate.

Anonymous said...

what a low-life fischman is going from one dirtbag architect to another.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

What a joke. Today's developers are nothing but felons who just happen not to be in jail yet. They do everything undercover and on the sly, because they know what they're doing is wrong and selfish and unpopular, but they don't give a damn. Fischer is worse than Scarano, because he unscrupulous AND competent.

Anonymous said...

Where's the EPA? This Gowanus property contaminated the air and land when it was an operating business and they should be held accountable.

Even new residential tenants in this building will need to pay into the Superfund but the EPA remains silent!

Joe Nardiello said...

Ah, rogue developers... and the unfortunate cat & mouse game that's played, lately.

I'd categorize this property's 2008 and 2009 history (prior to the new, freshly minted permit in advance of the new height restrictions) firmly under the heading of: Spite. If they weren't allowed to build, they simply sat and blighted the street with a visual reminder to the area that there's not much 'you can do about it'... from my perspective.

Here's a prime example where if a wrong isn't corrected within months -- then legislation should be in place as a fail-safe. (That I'd proposed on the campaign trail.) Instead of hoping for the best... a pathway would be clear for punitive, large fines and within a short amount of time, actual seizure of such properties that are either in violation or being warehoused.. that bring nothing but blight onto vibrant blocks in our community. Tough as it is sounds, there needs to be far more firm fail-safes for people than exist right now... because too many developers need to be admonished for a lack of focus or concern about respecting the community in which they are operating.

Anonymous said...

Instead of down zoning, the City could have increased the density to match the over-sized building. At least then the lot would have been given an "e" designation requiring some sort of cleanup action.

Currently, the conversion can occur without any environmental oversight - hold your breath if you live near so you don't inhale the asbestos!

Batman said...

How is this on the sly? Should he have taken out an ad in the Eagle that says "Hey, I got my permit renewed, so be on the lookout and maybe try to find another way to stop the construction"?

The building is awful, but lets not demonize a business decision made within the confines of the law, however poorly we may consider the law to be constructed or the ultimate result to be.

Plow to Plate said...

2:42 is off their rocker with stupid misinformation. give it up already with the scare tactics re: EPA.

the kid said...

no surprise, in the first place, corruption is a valid expense, let's say, for a bank to go into a neigborhood and do some payola or send a mortgage application to a shaky signature, should i say that, no?
as long as it's reasonable with a fair rate of return, it's an accepted business practice, like tipping
in the second place, i'm surprised with the degree of 6, anyone gets busted as we are all connected, no?
no rat here, just a nice little old ladys' son who smells a skunk, as in banisure