Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's Up With The Smith Street Building That Once Housed Robin Des Bois?

Something quite strange is going on with the Smith Street building that once housed Robin Des Bois.
A year after the once popular French bistro called it quits in late 2011, it appeared that a brick  oven pizza joint would take its place at 195 Smith Street.
In September 2012, the NYC Department Of Buildings approved a permit for a horizontal enlargement at rear to change the three-story, two family building with commercial space to a "four family with commercial space."

Shortly afterwards, a crew began excavating the  backyard.  Day after day, workers dumped wheel barrel after wheel barrel of dirt into a dumpster.  By November, the  NYC Department of Buildings Emergency response team issued a violation for work without a permit. Apparently, the proper permits for structural and underpinning work had not yet been obtained.
Several other violations that were issued in early 2013 were dismissed.

Excavation of back yard in late 2012

Work continued all throughout the spring, but rather than to enlarge the building in the rear, it would appear that the roof, rear and side wall of the building have been slowly dismantled.

Rather than working on the extension, it looks as though everything but the front fa├žade are still intact. It all looks rather precarious.

The construction (or rather de-construction) has stopped of late.   Several 311 calls seem to have been made to express concern about the structural stability of the building and to report that the gutting had damaged the side wall of number 193 Smith Street. but so far, DOB does not seem concerned and has dismissed the complaints.

Not sure about you, but for the time being, I'll walk on the opposite side of the street.


Anonymous said...

I was so sad when Rbin des Bois closed, it was one of the first wave of restaurants on Smith Street... And even more sad to see the lovely backyard with it's giant tree gone.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any cracks or problem with front facade so wouldn't worry walking by. But you'd think the Met food
could spend some time painting over the graffiti on their building?

Anonymous said...

I saw the poor old tree dead In the dumpster. .some person from years ago planted that tree. :(
I never ate anything from that cafe but remember when it was just a store selling French bric a brac. I did have drinks in the yard. If that pizza sign is any indication of what's to come, I'd walk on opposite side too. and why such a deep and utter excavation? Buried treasure? What a mess. I hope no one is living there now. I never really look at it when I walk by.

Anonymous said...

Property owners have the right to do what they want with the property they own (within reason), but this is a real shame. Great restaurant and such a lovely back yard gone just to add more rental units. What a mess.