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Carl Glassman reports for Trib. Widening cracks in the walls of a 157-year-old, three-story building at 17 Leonard St. sparked fears of a collapse earlier this month, causing the Department of Buildings to slap a vacate order on the structure as well as open an investigation with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The building's perilous conditions also exposed an ongoing dispute between its owner, Christopher Rolf, and Steven Schnall, the developer of a seven-story condominium building with two-story penthouse that is under construction next door. Each one blames the other. Both sides say they expect the city's intervention to finally force a remedy to the building's rapidly deteriorating state. At whose expense is yet to be determined. The decrepit structure, which has a history of violations and stop-work orders dating back to 2008—amounting to fines of nearly $40,000—has long been slated for residential conversion. It is now on the market for $15.7 million. Built as a stable in 1857, 17 Leonard still has "IMD," or interim multiple dwelling status, with the city and requires considerable work before it can qualify for a residential certificate of occupancy. One person was living in the building at the time of the vacate order, issued on Dec. 7. He declined to be interviewed, he said, because he is in a dispute with Rolf over his tenancy. A construction manager on Schnall's project reported that cracks in the building had expanded overnight on Dec. 7, bringing a response from the Fire Department and the DOB and the vacate order that has also closed a portion of the sidewalk. John Peachy, Rolf's architect, showed a Trib reporter wide vertical cracks along the southwest corner of the building, both outside and just inside the front door. He said there is another crack on the second floor that is three-quarters of an inch wide.  "This corner of the building is just falling in both directions, south and west," he said. Peachy said the cracks had about doubled in width since he had last seen them the week before, and he had been trying to convince the Buildings Department to vacate the building and close the sidewalk for more than a week. "It's reached a point where a partial collapse is imminent," he said. Rolf, who is in poor health and bedridden, and Peachy, claim that the damage began with the construction of Schnall's building. "All of those cracks you're looking at in the front have happened in the last month and cracks in the back started to develop in 2012 and have been getting worse and worse", Rolf said in a telephone interview. "But this real movement in the front where [Schnall's] building is located has just happened within the last two months". He said the problems are the result of Schnall's failure to agree to properly underpin his building, which like other buildings in the area, rests on marshy soil. "It's been damage after damage after damage", said Rolf, who converted neighboring 19 and 21 Leonard Street into residential buildings. "I really don't have the money to repair it so I don't have much choice but to sell it". But Schnall claims that Rolf scuttled his efforts to underpin his building, which he said already bore cracked and bowed walls before construction began and are continuing to worsen on their own. Rolf refused to approve plans to underpin his building so that excavation could begin, he said, and that threatened to stall his project. In April, Schnall took Rolf to court in an effort to gain access to his building and begin the work. "We negotiated for several months with Chris", Schnall told the Trib in an email, "and he simply would not agree to sign a license agreement allowing us to do so unless we rebuilt a substantial portion of his west and south walls and did work to his ceiling, skylight and many other areas that had nothing to do with the underpinning license we were requesting". Schnall said engineers were forced to redesign his building's foundation "at a significant cost" in order to avoid underpinning Rolf's structure. Both sides say they have photographs to prove their claims about when the cracks began to appear, but neither would share them with the Trib. A DOB spokeswoman said that a forensic report that will detail the building's deteriorating conditions and their causes is yet to be completed. "An initial inspection showed that construction work at the adjacent lot is a contributing factor", she said in an email. "If it is at any time determined that our construction was the cause of the cracks we will honor whatever obligation is ours, but at this point safety is our main concern", wrote Schnall, whose architectural plans last year had ignited opposition from nearby residents claiming that the project was out of scale with surrounding buildings. A spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said her agency has also opened an investigation. "We will take appropriate action, if warranted, as soon as it's completed", she said in an email.  
Alex Garkavenko reports for Architizer. b7915678e3be17b8e290886e98d23973 In the eyes of a Bostonian, the Ferdinand building embodies an era of a once-thriving business district in Dudley Square, where the revered "Ferdinand's" furniture store would pull in customers from all over New England. However, for the last 40 or so years, the building has stood derelict, creating a rupture in the neighborhood of Roxbury. Until now. When Boston Public Schools recently made the decision to move their administration to the square, Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates saw an opportunity for the old building to help sew the area back together. The Dudley Municipal Center project took three existing buildings in the Dudley Station Historic District—the 1895 Ferdinand Building, the 1888 Curtis Building, and the 1890 Waterman Building—and wove them to create an entirely new landmark. The project presented an opportunity to centralize programs that had previously been spread out, including retail and a much-needed public space that finally addressed the flow of people from the adjacent 110-year-old transit hub. The street is invited into the triangle between the structures by tracing the historic rail track, forming what is now the new "Dudley Square." To understand some of the spatial massaging that went into such a socially conscious project, we talked to project leader Marta Roy about the influences and challenges that shaped the center. Approaching the mayor to rethink the brief "The first challenge that we had was ... to realize that you need these [adjacent plots] to have a complete triangle, and to have a building with no “back of the house”—where everything is open to the neighborhood. That was really important. ... We wanted to reach everybody in the neighborhood… that was our first challenge actually: to try to convince the mayor and the city that they needed to buy this if they really wanted to make this project a catalyst to improve the whole neighborhood and connect the whole community. "The second challenge that we had —and actually the most important—is how we handled the integration of the historical buildings into a new building, while still creating contemporary architecture. So there were already a few proposals for this site—for the Terminal building—and all of them [obscured] the Ferdinand building, which is the symbol for this community and neighborhood. [The Ferdinand building] still has to be the protagonist for the new building, and that is very complicated." A Dutch touch of materiality in Boston "Guidance came from the mayor also… in terms of what is the materiality, what is the look of this building. "It has to be also for Boston, which was really important for us. And in the end, of course, we come from Holland … [where] all the buildings and all the cities are made of brick. So we knew that we could add to all these traditions of brick building in Boston while adding a Dutch touch to it." "[We focused on] how you think about the bricks and how you actually relate to some things like the craftsmanship, and also how we can get the building in a contemporary way. It was also actually very clear from the very beginning that we would do a brick building, because we know how to do it very well, and because then the people would see something else and not what they expected… 'a brick building?' We thought that it was an appropriate material to relate to the past, and also to the future." The construction process, as directed by three historic buildings "There were many challenges. With all the construction that we needed to do, we tried to keep the walls and the facade of the historical building. But it was impossible to actually keep the entire structure, so we had to demolish all the floors and just keep the facade. So, that was actually quite a difficult challenge—to keep that intact, and then build on top something new. For example, there was one of the walls of the Ferdinand building with some murals—on the 3rd floor and the 4th floor—that actually fell down. They were brick walls, and we had to rebuild them. "You need to tell everyone the story … you can do something new, but you need to keep all the things that were still in the memory of all these people. Because, everyone who talked during this project from the neighborhood, from Roxbury, they all remember the Ferdinand store—where their parents and their grandparents were going to buy furniture for their houses." The community has the final verdict "We are a contextual office. We are a group of people and we design for people also. So we actually take into account the human scale of things—how to design for the people. I think is one our main motivations. This is a building that is not only an architectural office, not just a jewel, not just a sculpture. "There were some interesting moments. There was the topping-off ceremony and the ground-breaking ceremony. It was quite emotional to be part of it… All these projects are very emotional for everyone—often, even, for us."
Mark Maurer reports for The Real Deal. A new Major League Soccer team called the New York City Football Club is close to signing a deal with GAL Manufacturing to construct a $400 million soccer stadium between the Major Deegan Expressway and East 153rd Street in the Bronx. The New York City Football Club — of which Manchester City Football Club of the Premier League holds the majority stake — would have to pay GAL Manufacturing to relocate, and fund all construction. The 28,000-seat facility would sit on a vacant lot just south of Yankee Stadium. While Mayor Bloomberg supports the deal, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has yet to review it, the New York Post reported. The plan also calls for the club to make pilot payments through a 35-year deal and promise revenues to bondholders. The stadium is projected to open by 2018 or 2019. In August, the club was in talks to demolish the 2,400-plus parking garage on the site, as previously reported.
Hiten Samtani reports for The Real Deal. Pier571 When the bidding for Pier 57 kicked off in the early 2000s, developer Young Woo wasn’t quite ready to commit to the mammoth 480,000-square-foot project. But he’s been fascinated by the structure for a long time, he said, and when the city put it back on the market in 2009, though Woo was up against the Durst Organization and the Related Companies, he wasn’t going to miss his shot. “We were competing against two of the most prominent and respected developers,” Woo told The Real Deal at the opening of an interactive art installation by artist Garson Yu at the pier Thursday evening. “But we convinced the crowd.” YoungWooandGarsonYu-300x186 From left: Garson Yu and Young Woo During a tour of the cavernous space — which is larger than all the retail space available in Nolita and is slated to house restaurants, art galleries and shops in repurposed shipping containers — Woo told The Real Deal that he intends to make it a “powerhouse for creative people.” Indeed, the crowd at the event — a menagerie of artists in tie-dye shirts, waifish models in stilettos and trendy young business professionals in crisp blazers and jeans — was reflective of the type of tenants that Woo wishes to lure to the space, he said. Pier57Party-300x200 Revelers at Pier 57 After walking down several flights of stairs to the basement, Woo, dressed in a white shirt and blue blazer, animatedly discussed the history of the structure, which he likened to a “Greek temple.” The pier burnt down in 1947 and the city rebuilt it with the intent of making it fireproof. “They sunk the cassions and then they built this space on top of it,” he said. “This is the only pier from here to Boston sitting on concrete cassions.” Woo’s director of marketing, Zachary Beloff, said Pier 57 would allow leasing through an online platform, an innovation he said would enable it to attract tenants from Asia and Europe who had yet to establish presence in the United States. “They can design their space from abroad with our architect and group,” Beloff said. The project was in advanced talks with several tenants, Beloff said, and the current focus was on leasing the anchor retail spaces — which average between 3,000 to 5,000 square feet with some larger spaces up to 20,000 square feet. “All have very large openings to the water that will provide unobstructed views.” City Council unanimously approved Woo’s plan for the pier in April. Among the pop-up shops that set up space after Memorial Day were Nolita-based fresh juice bar Butcher’s Daughter, Gowanus-based eatery Fletcher’s BBQ, shoe retailer Soludos and design firm Grey Area. The summer leases, Beloff said, were a taste of what’s to come, as the developer expects to attract a myriad of design, fashion and foreign retail stores. Pier57Garson-300x185 Garson Yu’s exhibit at Pier 57 Through the summer, Pier 57 will continue to host arts-driven events, Beloff said, including BOFFO Building Fashion, an annual program that pairs an architect with a fashion designer to create a retail installation. “If one person can create a magic carpet,” Woo said, referring to a sculptural installation of 36 hanging shipping containers designed by Spanish architecture firm CH + QS Arquitectos, “imagine if we have hundreds of them in one location. It’s going to be very interesting.”  
Nicole Anderson reports for The Architect's Newspaper. 03-governors-island-nyc-leases-archpaper Governors Island, the once sleepy military base, has been evolving rapidly in the last five years—transforming into a hub of cultural activity, educational facilities, and lush parkland. And now, the next phase of the $260 million redevelopment plan will add a mix of spa services, classrooms, and artist studios. Last December, the Trust for Governors Island issued a request for proposals seeking ideas for creative, educational, or commercial uses for over 40 historic structures, which had previously provided residential quarters, administrative offices, and other communal functions. And while the exteriors of these 19th and early-mid 20th century wood and brick buildings are landmarked, the interiors are not, and can be renovated to accommodate a variety of tenants with different spatial requirements. After considering 15 proposals, the Trust announced the selection of its three finalists last week, two of which already occupy space within the island’s historic buildings: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), Quadratec Spa, and the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School (Harbor School). These tenants will move into five buildings, and take over only 30 percent of the historic district, leaving much of the area open for further redevelopment. “Governors Island is a unique shared public resource for all New Yorkers. Now, with the completion of the first phase of the park and announcement of new tenants, the island is fulfilling its potential as a lively year round destination,” said Trust president Leslie Koch. “These tenants will bring new recreational educational and cultural activity and much needed resources to the Island.” 01-governors-island-nyc-leases-archpaper The Quadratec Spa will take over three historic buildings, which will include indoor facilities, saunas, a light café, and outdoor pools with panoramic views of Manhattan. 02-governors-island-nyc-leases-archpaper Next door, LMCC, a non-profit dedicated to arts and culture, will occupy all of Building 110. The organization already operates over 20 studios and exhibition spaces in the building, and now plans to build additional studios, a digital media lab, more gallery space, and a screening room. For over three years ago, the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School (Harbor School) has lived in Building 550. Now the public high school, which fittingly offers a curriculum based on environmental conservation and water-related issues, has the green light to take over Building 555, the 25,000 square foot, former Coast Guard and Army structure. This new expansion will enable the school to grow its student body from 435 to 755 students. 04-governors-island-nyc-leases-archpaper The Trust is also in negotiations with CIEE Global Campus—an organization providing international education and exchange programs—to retrofit two existing structures—Building 12 and Pershing Hall—into classrooms and dormitories for over 250 international students. As Governors Island transitions from a seasonal to a year-round destination, the Trust will do away with the free ferry rides and charge a $2 fare on weekdays and weekend afternoons to help subsidize operations. Tenants are slated to begin construction in 2014 and move into their new quarters by 2016. Over time, the Trust plans on releasing more RFPs, and introducing new programmatic uses and redevelopment plans to the 172-acre island.  
Curbed staff report for Curbed. 1-00545-0021_Y40Mr5g9 In 2011, Gary Barnett and Extell won a nine-year battle to buy a pair of cast-iron buildings on Broadway in the Noho Historic District, and now the developer's plans for at least one of the structures is coming to light. At a community board meeting last night, architecture firm Beyer Blinder and Belle presented plans to restore 734 Broadway to its previous luster, add a little extra bling to its crown, and top it with a glass two-story penthouse. The five-story building, which currently houses a Foot Locker at street level and five residential units above, is notable for being one of the famed cast-iron buildings the Jardine Brothers designed in the second half of the 19th century.  Currently, grime and disrepair obscure the landmark's beauty. It has a Broadway-facing fire escape that is badly rusted, as are the cast iron brackets that it's attached to. While fire escapes are considered characteristic to the district, Beyer Blinder and Belle pointed out that most of the other buildings have fire escapes facing secondary streets, and therefore propose that the fire escape be removed. The masonry at the attachment points will be repaired, and all other rusted cast iron will also be restored in order to return the building to its original design. Additionally, the ground-level façade below the existing cast iron cornice will be completely remade because none of it is historic to the building. This includes creating a new storefront cornice with replica cast iron, which was previously removed.  Restored-facade
The rear of the building has also seen its share of alterations during the last century. A dilapidated two-and-a-half story shed at the back of the building will be demolished, and a new, enclosed rear yard will be built. The entire rear façade will also be painted to look as it did originally. Right now, the plan is to paint the building in green tones, but that may change pending further analysis of the paint on the building.
Street-view-from-Broadway 1910-Historical-view
The biggest change will be to the top of the building. Not only will the three missing decorative finials be replaced, but behind them will lie a new two-story residential penthouse addition. The addition will be all glass, and unlike other additions to historic buildings in the district, the floors will not be "stacked" at the street front. The first floor of the addition will be recessed from the front of the building by 23 feet, and the second floor will be recessed from the first by 15 feet so that the addition can't be seen from the street. Residents like Anita Brandt liked the "minimally visible" design and could see that the architects "did their homework" on the building's history.
Roofop-addition-rendering Proposed-rear-and-side-of-building
The living areas in the penthouse will be on the first floor and the bedrooms on the top. Privacy will be provided by an aluminum framed curtain wall system. In all, the two new floors will add an additional 22 feet to the cast-iron structure. 
Despite the attempt to keep the addition as non-intrusive as possible, one resident raised concerns that the glass would reflect too much light and "glow" which could be potentially distracting. But by and large, residents embraced the design and raised few objections. "We're speechless, what can we say, we love it," said Brandt, an architect who also works with historic landmarks. The landmarks committee of Community Board 2 voted to approve the designs with modifications to the shape of the finials from spherical to elongated and to the height of the storefront bulkhead, which will stand about 16 inches tall to line up with the pilasters' base. They also recommended that the Landmarks Preservation Commission's report encourage the City Planning Commission to look favorably upon a Modification of Use since the building is currently zoned for merchandising and some retail uses.  
Hana R. Alberts reports for Curbed. Tribeca Citizen has spotted the rendering of Morris Adjmi's cast-iron inversion design posted on the construction plywood at 83 Walker Street. The design was unveiled back in 2011, but the site has appeared to be pretty much stalled since then. Its design, by the way, is unique because " Instead of columns curving out from the building, they are indented into it. The windows, typically recessed, jut out from façade." The nine-story condo (which will have nine units, according to DOB permits) got a thumbs up from the Landmarks Preservation Commission over two years ago, and construction was slated to begin nine months from then. Well, that didn't happen, but maybe the posting of the rendering means more action is on the way. We've reached out to Adjmi's reps for more information on the project.  
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Raising Joyful Hell

Nicole Anderson reports for The Architect's Newspaper. Last week, The Flea Theater, the off-off Broadway downtown hub for experimental work, broke ground on its new home in Tribeca. An existing three-story building will be retrofitted by Architecture Research Office (ARO) to accommodate a variety of productions and creative uses, establishing a permanent home to carry on the theater’s mission to raise “joyful hell in a small space.” “Their whole ethos is based on off-off Broadway and to support young actors and actresses of every age level, playwrights of any age level, and emerging talent as well as very established talent,” said Kim Yao, partner and founder of ARO. “So part of the challenge for us was to balance the performing spaces with really solid back of house spaces in a very tight building.”
  ARO will overhaul the mid-century structure, which sits on the former site of New York Hospital, and plans on maintaining the original 200-year-old brick walls and arches in the basement where a small performance space will be situated. “The Flea likes idiosyncratic spaces,” said Stephen Cassell, partner at ARO. “Everything is designed for flexibility.” The structure will consist of three different theaters, each outfitted with moveable seating. On the top floor, a 1,850 square foot concert theater, dubbed “The Sam” after theater agent Sam Cohn, will host a range of programming from acrobatic performances to large-scale plays. Below, on the ground floor, “The Pete” theater, which takes its name from a play by A.R. Gurney, will be a multi-purpose interior space that can extend out onto an adjacent garden to allow for a number of viewing options and uses. In the basement, the brick black box theater, “The Siggy,” named after actress and Flea co-founder Sigourney Weaver, will provide a smaller space for new work, especially geared towards the resident acting troupe known as “The Bats.” “The idea behind the project with the Flea was always to embrace the existing structure, and the significant adaptive reuse is very much I think in keeping with the character of the organization,” said Yao. “And so what we are really doing is restructuring some areas, replacing others, and increasing volume.” In addition to the three theaters, the building will include four dressing rooms, costume shops, two lobbies, and back of house space. The street façade, made of brick and a black steel awning, will rise up to shield the mechanicals on the rooftop. Yao said that the structure, wedged between a tall residential building, an AT&T switching building, and a FDNY Fire Station, will create “a great new presence on a very quiet street.” The theater is anticipated to open its doors by spring of 2015  
Jeremiah Budin reports for Curbed. In order to be able to build its store in Gowanus, Whole Foods agreed to preserve and repair the landmarked Coignet building, which sits on the corner of the lot. But locals are claiming that the construction of the supermarket has created a huge crack in the historic structure - possibly the first concrete building in the city - and that Whole Foods doesn't even care. Whole Foods, for its part, is claiming that the building was just like that when they got it, telling Brooklyn Paper, "Nothing that occurred in relations to building our building for the store affected what's happening to that building. I don't think anything caused that crack. The building is a bit weathered." Although the supermarket chain is still promising that it will eventually fix up the Coignet's façade, this is not likely to help out the building's short-term sale prospects, as it was put on the market back in January. Other locals have different concerns about the Whole Foods, set to open next Tuesday. "Whole Foods is one more example of stores catering to the affluent newcomers," said one resident, referring to the planned 700-unit Lightstone Group development. Another said it reminded her of a "suburban strip mall." Welcome to the neighborhood, Whole Foods!  
Elie reports for Bowery Boogie. 75-essex-street-2013 Fueled by two notable landmarking victories in recent months – Bialystoker Nursing Home and 339 Grand Street – the Friends of the Lower East Side are retraining the crosshairs on another one-of-a-kind building. One we’ve covered at length – 75 Essex Street. As revealed here last month, 75 Essex is back on the market for $21 million. With the new Essex Crossing development soon to redefine SPURA, no abutting property is safe from destruction and/or alteration. Not even one as historically rich as this. Hence, the action. The Friends sent a “Request for Evaluation” to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last January, which was acknowledged by the city three months later. Due to the crickets from that end, the grassroots organization is turning up the heat by imploring folks to submit letters to Chairman Robert Tierney. “Due to the endangered status of this important building in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, Friends of the Lower East Side has embarked on a campaign to save the Good Samaritan/Eastern District Dispensary building,” said Mitchell Grubler, a founding member of the grassroots organization founded in 2011 and dedicated to preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of this historic center of immigrant life. The freestanding 75 Essex was erected in 1890 to house the Eastern Dispensary (aka Good Samaritan Dispensary), established in 1832 to provide the sick and poor with a place to receive aide and medicine.  It initially opened on Grand Street during a massive cholera epidemic “that claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people, mainly destitute Irish immigrants crammed into filthy hovels in the fourth and sixth slum wards of downtown Manhattan.” Today, it’s owned by the family behind ground-level occupant Eisner Brothers, a business that will likely fold once the address is in new hands. An excerpt from their letter to Chairman Tierney:
As stated in our Request for Evaluation, submitted on January 14, 2013, the building is surrounded by Site 1 of the Essex Crossing/Seward Park Mixed-Use Development (see attachment for text and photos). While the building is not on the site, it is vulnerable to damage by work conducted around it or it could be diminished by inappropriate development surrounding it. The dispensary is eligible for the National Register and is noted in the Environmental Impact Statement for the development. Rose & Stone designed Eastern District Dispensary in the style of a freestanding Italianate palazzo. The four-story building is clad in orange brick on the first story and tan brick above, laid in Flemish bond. A rhythmic series of five round-arched openings are set within the first story of the eastern façade along Essex Street. Projecting belt courses, giving the effect of rustication, radiate from the central entrance and four flanking windows. Under the belt courses, now coated with cementitious parging and painted reddish brown, is brownstone of a similar color. Above the arches is a row of nine vertical sash windows, surrounded by moulded brick, repeated at the third story, and nine arched windows at the fourth story.