Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It Took A Long Time, But Warehouse Conversion At 333 Carroll Street Getting Closer To Completion

It has taken a very long time and quite a few twists and turns, but it appears as though construction on 333 Carroll Street, between Hoyt and Bond Street, is getting closer to being completed. A few windows have been installed, and now that some of the netting has been removed from the scaffolding, it is easier to imagine what the building will look like when it is all done.

Permits to convert the lovely old brick manufacturing building into residential condominiums were first filed in 2005.  Owner/developer  Isaac Fischman of AMI Development, LLC, had hired bad boy architect Robert"Mezzanine" Scarano to convert an old brick manufacturing building into 30 units. As part of the plans, a two story, 40 foot steel addition was erected on top of the old structure.

Alarmed by the size of the addition, residents asked the NYC Department of Buildings to review the plans, which revealed that Scarano had been more than creative with the floor-air-ratio (FAR) 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. A stop-work order was issued on March 4th 2008 and the developer fired Scarano.

Eventually, Fischman replaced Scarano with another controversial architect, Karl Fischer, to resolve the floor-area-ratio problem. Fischer, the architect behind the 11 story 'finger' at 100 Luquer street, filed for an amendement, which he self-certified. The DOB accepted an audit in October 2009 and new permits were issued.

However, by then, the neighborhood had organized and, with the help of the Department of City Planning, was able to down-zone Carroll Gardens. Unlike the neighborhood's original R6 zoning, the new R6B zoning has a 50 foot height limit. The City Council voted the re-zoning into law on October 28, 2009.

As with any re-zoning, all construction projects were served with a stop-work-order and were re-visited by DOB to see if construction was far enough along to be vested under the old zoning. In the case of 333-335 Carroll Street, DOB determined that only 15% of the work has been completed and therefore needed to comply with the new 50 foot hight limit. Another stop work order was issued.

Finally, in April 2011, the steel structure, which was so hideous that many in the community had begun referring to 333 Carroll Street as the 'hunchback' building or "hell house", was taken down. Work on the actual building finally resumed under Nicholas Scire-Chianeta of NSC Architecture, P.C. a few months later.

Since construction began, the site has raked up 60 complaints and 22 DoB violations (of which 9 are still open).  I bet neighbors will be happy to see this project completed.

A reminder of what it looked like:
The building at 333 Carroll Street in 2011 with the illegal addition


Gowanee said...

It was truly amazing how the community galvanized to stop the hideous previous plans. Were it not for the community action, the action of citizens, the bad boy architects would have gotten away with it. Thank you for the recap, Katia.

Katia said...

Sometimes, the community does win. But mostly, the City has the developers' back.

Anonymous said...

The cement block tower in the middle was only partially removed 2 years ago and has since been somewhat extended. It's pretty tall. Does anyone know what it is and is it legal?

Rob said...

The cement block tower is most likely the elevator mechanics. I can't imagine a building that tall would do well as a walk-up.

That's not the only construction project on that block though. Regency Carts which is to the right of this building I believe also sold to a developer who plans on putting up townhouses.

Anonymous said...

I live across the street from this project and have had the misfortune of watching them in real time as they do a disservice to this beautiful old building and the neighborhood in general

Case in point…each one of those units will be getting its own street facing window unit air conditioner. Who does that? Any idea if that was in the renderings?
Same question for the Juliet balconies?

Jim Kenna said...

I think 333 Carroll Street was originally constructed as the Carroll Park Mission Sunday School of the Strong Place Baptist Church. It was later converted to a factory. The Regency building was originally part of Planet Mills, which has become The Mill on President Street.

Debbie said...

I thought 333 was actually planet mills. I know the building was large, larger than that flat regency building. anyway, i live across the street and have to say, given what we were facing at first, i think it looks pretty nice. i was really afraid they were going to dismantle all of the brick and leave some sort of horrid concrete instead, but they kept a good amount of the original building after all.