Friday, December 09, 2005

Williamsburg builder investigated

Posted by Y.O. contributor, Chief of Staff:

Building up by tearing down:

Daily News:

The developer of Williamsburg's "Finger Building" may have demolished his chances of finishing the huge condo project after he tore down a nearby warehouse.
City Buildings Department officials halted work last month at 144 N.Eighth St. to investigate the illegal demolition of a one-story warehouse on the footprint of the planned 220-foot tower.
Permits for developer Mendel Brach's project - which began just before a zoning change that prohibits such out-of-scale buildings - did not call for the demolition, said Buildings Department spokeswoman Ilyse Fink.
"By demolishing the building, which was not what they originally represented, they may have jeopardized" their project, Fink said.
If more than 50% of the warehouse was brought down - the threshold for a demolition - then Brach's project could be subject to more restrictive zoning, Fink said.
"The question is, how much did they really take down?" Fink said.
Brach's lawyer Howard Hornstein said only 42% of the warehouse's floor area was removed.
"We are within the percentage required by the zoning," Hornstein said. "We believe we'll resolve the situation soon so we can get back to work."
Hornstein wrote to Brooklyn Buildings Department Commissioner Susan Hinkson, stating that the creation of a roof deck and parking garage necessitated the wrecking work.
But Williamsburg activists who fought the Finger Building - their nickname for the structure because they feel it resembles an upturned finger and a rude gesture to the low-rise neighborhood - charged that the entire warehouse had been demolished.
"We got him on some good technical issues," said Phillip DePaulo. "They claimed they were only using a small percentage of the area, but they tore it down completely." ...
"They screwed up and they got caught," DePaul said. "But I'm sure with the investment, they're not going to roll over."
posted by Y.W. Editor
at 12:26 PM

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