The latest news on New York architecture.


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48 Howard Street

This building dates from 1860 and is built primarily in stone and utilizes the same round-arched Italianate detailing that appears on early cast-iron facades. It is located in the SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District. It was masonry buildings such as this, in fact, that inspired many of the first prefabricated cast-iron facades.

We were retained to perform the exterior restoration as well as sidewalk vault and light repairs, and the renovation of the storefront bulkhead and entrance, all in compliance with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The sidewalk vault and cast-iron sidewalk lights were repaired and restored to enable future use. The owner of the building wanted to conserve the neglected and weathered appearance of the building’s façade. Accordingly, all interventions to the building were very subtle.

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The Mercantile Building

The Mercantile Building is an art deco skyscraper designed by the New York architectural firm of Ludlow and Peabody.

When it was completed in 1929 the 48-story tower was the fourth tallest building in the world. The building’s original owner was Frederick William Vanderbilt.

SHA directed a full exterior restoration program which included terra cotta repairs, the restoration of the copper mansard roof, the installation of a new roof membrane, masonry repairs, and a window replacement program.

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The Knabe Building

C.P.H. Gilbert, a society architect best known for his work on townhouses and mansions in the Gilded Age, designed this eleven-story office building in 1904.

The building was referred to as the Knabe Building after its longtime tenant the Knabe Piano Company.

SHA directed the exterior restoration of the building which included repairs to the terra cotta façade elements, reconstruction of deteriorated brick, copper mansard roof repairs, storefront restoration, sidewalk replacement and structural vault repairs. We are currently working on the design of a new roof deck.

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366 Fifth Avenue

We were retained to undertake a penthouse renovation program of this 1907 commercial building at 366 Fifth Avenue.

The scope of work included renovation of a commercial penthouse, the addition of new oversize window openings and clerestory, creation of new openings in the existing parapet walls and installation of new skylights and bathrooms.

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Concourse Plaza Hotel

We are currently working on the exterior restoration program at the 900 Grand Concourse. Located in the Grand Concourse Historic District near Yankee Stadium, the building was originally constructed as a hotel whose notable guests included Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and is currently programmed for senior housing.

The present restoration includes reconstruction of the original brickwork, terra-cotta urns and stone repairs, reconstruction of the masonry parapets and new roofing membrane. The project is currently under construction and completion is scheduled for Fall 2017.

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285 Central Park West

We served as the building architect for this Landmark building, located in the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District.

Designed by Robert T. Lyons and completed in 1906, the St. Urban was park of the early generation of tall New York apartment buildings, which was ushered in by the construction of the Dakota in 1884.

Like many of these buildings, the St. Urban is firmly rooted in the Beaux-Arts tradition, with its high mansard roof, round corner tour, and elaborate copper detailing.

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80 Greene Street

80 Greene Street, located in the Soho Cast Iron District, was designed by architect Griffith Thomas and was completed in 1872 as a store and storehouse for C. Henry Gardiner. The construction of 80 Greene is characteristic of the historic district, with a cast iron façade and large open loft-style floor plates.

SHA was contracted to prepare design, filing and construction documents for the full interior demolition and renovation of the building’s 4,000sf second floor loft. The renovation included space planning for an entirely new apartment layout, including a two bedroom suites, a guest bedroom, new fire places and chimneys, a new kitchen and the construction of a new 2,000sf mezzanine loft space, accessed via spiral stair.

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Local Law 11

Facade Inspection and Safety Program (FISP) - Cycle 8

The New York City Department of Buildings requires that owners of buildings greater than 6 stories must have their buildings’ exterior walls and appurtenances inspected once every 5 years and file a technical report to the Department of Buildings.

The current Inspection Cycle 8 runs from February 21, 2015 to February 21, 2020.


The last digit of the building’s block number determines the sub-cycles in which the report must be filed.

Cycle 8 is staggered into 3 sub-cycles:

  • Cycle 8A

  • Cycle 8B

  • Cycle 8C

Sub-cycle Last Digit of Block Number Filing Period
A 4, 5, 6, or 9 2/21/2015 – 2/21/2017
B 0, 7, or 8 2/21/2016 – 2/21/2018
C 1, 2, or 3 2/21/2017 – 2/21/2019


The inspection (critical examination) must be performed by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) - a New York State licensed architect or engineer.

The status of the façade can be classified in three ways:

  • Safe– The façade has no problems and is in good condition

  • Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program

  • Unsafe– The façade has problems/defects that pose a threat to public safety

Unsafe Conditions

If unsafe conditions are found, owners must file the report as 'Unsafe' and immediately install public safety measures, such as a sidewalk shed, construction fence, etc.

Unsafe conditions must be corrected within 30 days from the date of filing the report and an amended report filed with the Department within 15 days of completing the repairs. In total, repairs must be corrected and an amended report filed within 45 days of the initial filing.

If the conditions will take longer than 30 days to repair, the QEWI may submit an extension of time request and the DOB may grant an extension of up to 90 days, provided that the premises have been secured by the installation of a shed, fence, etc. Further extensions will only be considered with evidence of unforeseen circumstances or if the nature of the repairs require more than 90 days. There is a filing fee for each extension request, and extensions will need to be renewed until the Unsafe conditions are corrected.

If a building owner files a report as Unsafe and fails to correct the conditions and file an amended report within the allotted time (and does not obtain an extension), the building owner is subject to a monthly penalty for every month the unsafe conditions are not corrected.

Filing Fees

  Filing Fee
 Initial Report $265
 Amended/Subsequent Report $100
 Extension Request $135

Violations and Penalties

Penalties apply after the filing period ends.
Link: Inspection Cycle & Filing Period

 Late Filing (intial report) $250 per month
 Failure to File (initial report) $1,000 per year
 Failure to correct unsafe conditions $1,000 per month

New Buildings

For new construction above 6 stories, the owner has 5 years from the date that a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) has been issued to file the first FISP initial report. This means that any new building that received its TCO between February 21, 2010 - February 20, 2014 may need to file its first report during Cycle 8, depending on the last digit of the tax lot.

New Requirements

During Cycle 7, the Department of Buildings issued a new requirement that balcony railings and guards must be inspected for structural stability and code compliance, if not already included in the initial Cycle 7 inspection and report.

In Cycle 8, balcony railings and guards will be incorporated into the FISP inspection and technical report.

Window-mount air conditioning units will be included in the FISP inspection performed by the QEWI, and will therefore be classified as Safe or Unsafe. The Department of Buildings issues guidelines for installing window-mount air conditioning units, including:

  • Support the unit from underneath with metal brackets or firmly fasten it from inside with angles - any supporting hardware should be structurally fastened to the building (not the window frames) and must be strong enough for the weight of the AC unit.

  • Install the AC unit so it remains in place when the window is opened, or affix it so that the window cannot be opened accidentally.

  • Do not use loose objects, such as wood blocking, bricks, telephone books, or gypsum board to support the leveling of an AC unit.

New Online Filing Requirement

Beginning September 12th, 2016, the New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) will require building owners, managers, and design professionals to use the new online portal, DOB NOW: Safety, to submit compliance filings for the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), more commonly known as Local Law 11.

With this new requirement, Owners, Licensees, Filing Representatives, Registered Architects, and Professional Engineers must register in e-Filing to access DOB NOW and submit facade compliance filings.

The key change is that Owners and/or Owners’ Representatives, now must sign reports electronically, and to do so MUST be registered in e-Filing.

Effective 31 August 2016, facade compliance filings or extension requests, for Cycle 6 and beyond, will no longer be accepted in person and will no longer be available for review in the Building Information Systems (BIS).

To learn more about DOB NOW: Safety, sign up to attend an information session, or visit the DOB NOW: Safety Resource Page for helpful links and instructions.

To view FISP (Local Law 11) Projects click here.

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Jewelers Craft Building

We are the building Architect for this nine-story loft building. This Landmark Renaissance Revival building was designed by the noted firm of Cady, Berg and See and is situated in the Tribeca East Historic District. The building was converted to artists’ living and working quarters in 1978-80.

We have been working with the building for 10 years carrying out a range of projects including a restoration of the historic façade, roof repairs, elevator and boiler upgrades, and interior renovations.

The former Fuller Brothers Hat Manufacturing complex is historically and architecturally significant as an important and rare surviving example of the mid-19th century large scale industrial development in the city of Middletown under National Register Criteria A and C. The building displays architectural elements from the Italianate and Romanesque styles and retains a high degree of materials and craftsmanship. It is one of the few remaining industrial complexes associated with the city of Middletown’s major industrial area and the large scale industrial development of the mid and upper Hudson Valley regions.

The factory complex was built by the Fuller Brothers in 1874 and throughout its history it has been owned by a number of different entities. The original factory consisted of seven principal buildings, but it has undergone various alterations since its construction including additions to the main building and the construction and demolition of outbuildings on the property.

The project is located at 34 Mill Street in the City of Middletown, Orange County at the corner of Mill Street and Harding Street. The buildings have been mostly vacant since 1978. Adaptive reuse of the property allowed for the rehabilitation of the property for needed affordable housing. This project serves two important purposes: first, the preservation, reuse and restoration of the most significant components of the property, namely, the main mill building and the smokestack—the signature element of this historic complex, as well as an additional outbuilding; and second the provision of needed affordable housing in the City of Middletown.

Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC designed and carried out an adaptive reuse of the main mill building as residential units and commercial space, and one of the original outbuildings for a residents’ community hall. As preservation consultants, we provided the necessary analysis and specifications to reconstruct, and maintain the facades of the main mill building and the original chimney stack. A new addition of 15 additional units and residential support facilities is attached to the east of the main mill building through a three-story glass corridor, replacing the remainder of the original outbuildings.