Posts tagged with "DDG Partners":
In late December, Christmas came early for DDG Partners as work started again on its controversial development on Third Avenue and East 88th Street. The project, though, has become embroiled in a zoning furor with neighbors, experts, politicians, and the Department of Buildings (DOB). And the battle, despite workers being back on-site, doesn’t appear to be over.
Local resident group, Carnegie Hill Neighbors (CHN), has been feverishly fighting the development since it was given the go-ahead in summer 2015. In March 2016, CHN enlisted the services of planning expert George M. Janes to help the cause.
After looking at the zoning drawings, Janes said he noticed a “tactic to subdivide the lot” so that DDG’s building would no longer face on to East 88th Street. By avoiding this, the firm escaped further zoning laws triggered by coming up to the street’s edge.
Two months later, councilmember Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer penned a letter to the city flagging the issue and calling for construction to be halted. They succeeded and work stopped in May.
The case is complex. Janes’s argument in the zoning challenge outlined the following: If the building did fall flush with East 88th Street, then this portion of the structure—known as the “sliver”—would be limited to 60 feet tall. Along the edges of this sliver running perpendicular to the street, however, no “legal windows” for habitable apartments would be allowed, thus wasting floor space.
“I understand why they did what they did from a design standpoint,” said Janes. “That doesn’t make a difference in terms of the law though.” Janes, in fact, is sure DDG’s updated plans still break the law. “It’s just a matter of whether the DOB will enforce the law,” he said.
In a statement, the DOB said: “The side lot on 88th Street increased in size from 4 by 22 feet into a 10- by 22-foot developable parcel. DOB’s action reduced the size of the new building by 1,200 square feet. The developer will be required to build two means of egress on Third Avenue.”
Interestingly, even though the building’s base does not face East 88th Street, the developer’s listing of condos names the address as “180 East 88th Street” as seen on 180e88.com. The DOB meanwhile, refers to the development as “1558 Third Avenue.”
Janes has submitted another zoning challenge on behalf of CHN, including a letter signed by Kallos, Brewer, New York State Senator Liz Krueger, and Lo van der Valk, president of CHN. The modifications are “really very small,” said Janes. “The lot is still in common ownership, there are still the same issues.”
In the letter obtained by The Architect's Newspaper, the signatories collectively state their objection “to the developer’s absurd efforts to gerrymander its tax and zoning lots to avoid zoning requirements for buildings facing East 88th Street, which the DOB has apparently accepted in approving the project.”
The letter also reads:
The policy implications of this approach for the City are huge. Developers seeking to avoid zoning restrictions that are triggered by street frontage can merely carve off a tiny tax lot, obtain an access easement, and continue to reap all the benefits that the tax lot might offer, other than the tiny amount of floor area these micro-lots produce—a trade-off many developers will embrace given the premium price for height and high-floor apartments.
This was submitted on December 8 and Janes was initially optimistic given the lack of immediate reply that usually comes when a challenge is declined.
Additionally, van der Valk spoke of his desire to curb building heights on the Upper East Side in the wake of the project. “The long-run solution is to impose some building height restrictions in the area,” he said. “This building has some very tall floors, some of the tallest we’ve seen.”
DDG Partners’ tower will rise to 467 feet (excluding mechanicals), using only 32 floors. According to The Real Deal, DDG purchased the site in 2013 for about $70 million and has an estimated sellout of $308 million for the 48 condos on offer.
In a statement, DDG spokesperson Michele de Milly said: “We are pleased that the Stop Work Order was lifted following the Department of Building’s comprehensive audit. Most importantly, hundreds of construction workers can now get back to work on the site in order to meet our completion goal for late 2018.”
The developer also contributed nearly $20,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that supports the mayor’s social initiatives. DDG declined to comment on the donations when asked in May 2016. It said, however, that it “has and will continue to support public officials with a positive economic development platform that allows New York City to remain a beacon and attraction for the rest of the world.”
Architect: DDG Location: New York, NY
Acting as design architect, developer, and general contractor, DDG developed a custom, cast-aluminum screen using 3-D modeling software and state-of-the-art hardware. A burlap texture was hand-applied to the set of 12 repeating components before the sand-cast molds were made and the finished components cast. The resulting sinewy surface creates dialogue with the cast iron historic buildings of the area.
Executive Architect HTO ArchitectStructural Engineer Severud Associates Fabricator Walla Walla Foundry RenShape Foundry Pattern & Tooling Board Freeman Manufacturing & Supply Company Aluma Black Birchwood Casey
Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex
Architect: Payette Location: Boston, MA
The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University is a high-performance research building with a triple-glazed curtain wall and solar veil to help the building exceed 2030 energy savings goals.
Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: FilzFelt LINK
Architect: Gensler Location: Los Angeles, CA
Originally created as a one-time solution for Gensler’s Los Angeles office, the company recognized its wider possibilities and partnered with FilzFelt to produce a flexible modular panel system that adds texture and color to an environment while serving as a privacy screen, shade system, room divider, and acoustical element.
DDG uses a four-foot-wide lot to build (too) tall, enraging residents on Manhattan’s Upper East Side
“We’re always interested in the intersection between old-fashioned hand craft, and modern machined factory production.”Located in the Soho Cast Iron Historic district, XOCO325 (pronounced sho/co) is a 9-story, 24-unit condo development. Named after the Catalan word for chocolate, the project involves the renovation of a former Tootsie chocolate factory, and a new structure cloaked in a custom cast aluminum screen. The condos range in size from just over 1,000 sq. ft. to nearly 5,000 sq. ft. and are connected by a central courtyard. The design, development, and construction of the project has all been coordinated by New York-based office DDG who specializes in inclusive project delivery. Peter Guthrie, Chief Creative Officer and Head of Design & Construction of DDG, says from very early on, this “one-stop-shop” approach to development was rooted in the idea of embracing unique material qualities in construction. “At 41 Bond Street – one of our first projects – we were hand carving bluestone pieces on site. One of the ideas we had early on was that by doing this ourselves in house, and controlling everything throughout the process, we could bring back an element of craft that other companies couldn’t afford to do.” The most prominent feature of XOCO325 is a custom cast aluminum screen, carefully developed through an extensive survey of the cast iron district, where roughly 250 cast iron buildings reside. Through this study, the project team began to understand the cast iron facade as an industrialized “kit of parts” approach to architecture where design and construction rely heavily on series of componentry made available through pattern books. Inspiration also came from contemporary catalogs such as McMaster-Carr’s online website, which Guthrie labels as a “bible of industrial parts.” The catalog includes everything from bolts and screws to street lamp posts and furniture. DDG adopted this attitude of mass-produced componentry in their digitally developed forms, arriving at a proportioning system and bay spacing reminiscent of historical buildings in the area. “We’re always interested in the intersection between old-fashioned hand craft, and modern machined factory production,” says Guthrie. “There was an angle here we wanted to explore. Aluminum was light and, in the end, more affordable than replicating cast iron.” The project team developed a repetitive spandrel and column shape, working with a foundry to develop reusable composite forms with a weathered burlap texture. When prototyping versions of the system, the project team prioritized formal adjustments to the massing such as curvature and shadow lines to emphasize a sense of depth found on facades of historic buildings in the district. By “delaminating” the building enclosure system from the cast aluminum screen, a two-foot gap was established allowing the residential units to have a full span curtain wall glazing, while still maintaining some level of security and privacy. “That was our way of getting both: making a modern building without compromising on psychological stability and privacy.” This configuration is celebrated by the project team as having a “robust stability.” Within this space, balconies occupy the courtyard facing units, while a custom planter system comprised of pockets cast into the screen and a series of cables, is incorporated onto the primary street facade. The project is beginning sales, with an anticipated completion in 2016.