Posts tagged with "New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB)":

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Tallest U.S. building by a Russian architecture firm gets approval

Moscow–based firm Meganom has just gained approval for the tallest project by a Russian firm in the U.S., a 1,001–foot residential supertall at 262 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) gave the go-ahead for the tower on Tuesday, just over a year after the application was filed. The developer behind the project is Boris Kuzinez of New York–based firm Five Points Development. Kuzinez has spent $102 million already on site preparations, but is still seeking a construction loan for the tower itself. The architect of record is SLCE Architects. Consulting for the exterior wall has been conducted with Front Inc., with facade maintenance by Entek Engineering. Renderings for the skyscraper show a lean silhouette of a building punctuated by two observation decks. According to the designer, the apartment units, each measuring approximately 47 by 52 feet, will be anchored to an aluminum-clad column on the western side like shelves. All of the building's lift and mechanical systems will also be housed within this volume, allowing the residential space to be open and column-free. 41 apartments will be available in total, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the northern and southern facades. The design also accommodates customization: potential residents will be able to choose from a "library" of different layouts, with the option of purchasing full and multiple floors as well as portions of levels according to their needs. The building's top floor features a tall open space that offers 180-degree views to the north and south of Manhattan. According to the firm's website, the top observation deck can be reserved for private events by the building's residents. Triple-glazed windows facing north and south will stabilize the building's heating and cooling systems. Smaller, porthole-shaped windows will dot the building's eastern side. According to The Real Deal, a triplex apartment within the building could be worth as much as $75 million. Two structures on the site have already been demolished to make way for construction. A third structure at 260 Fifth Avenue will be preserved as part of the tower's base. There is no set timeline for construction. This is Meganom's first project in the U.S.
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NYC Department of Buildings launches new $29.6 million online filing platform

The department hopes DOB NOW will streamline the construction process by making it possible to file building and construction permits online; track applications; conduct virtual meetings with DOB staff; and print permits at home. Phase one, DOB NOW: Build, will allow applications for sprinkler and plumbing systems. Over the next two years, the DOB will add applications for various jobs until it will be possible to apply for a whole new building from the comfort of your home.

The move comes in response to recent incidents that revealed numerous embarrassing lapses in safety and oversight in the field and within the department.

The mayor has allocated $120 million to hire hundreds of new staff and for modernizing programs like DOB NOW. In a press release, department commissioner Rick D. Chandler expanded on the changes: “Modernizing DOB will not only make dealing with the city’s bureaucracy less aggravating—it offers a unique opportunity to boost our economy and create the housing, jobs, and infrastructure upon which 8.5 million New Yorkers depend. With DOB NOW, New Yorkers will be able to track every step of our work, often in real time. If you hire an architect, engineer, plumber, or other professional, you’ll be able to track their work, too. We want New Yorkers to have more access to our records so they can help hold us and everyone in the construction industry accountable."
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New York City to Match Sandy-Damaged Buildings With Design Professionals

For property owners of Hurricane Sandy-ravaged buildings, the road to recovery just got easier. Starting on Monday, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will offer a new program that provides design consultations to property owners and design professionals who want to reconstruct their buildings. Department officials and technical experts will explain the building code and zoning requirements for properties in special flood hazard areas, as indicated on insurance rate maps or on updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps. According to the announcement from the DOB: “This program is designed to accelerate the approval process for these projects, assist homeowners with their decisions on reconstruction and better ensure that new flood recommendations and standards are incorporated into the design and construction of these affected buildings." The consultations will be held at the Department’s NYC Development Hub at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan. Property owners will sit down with officials and compile a list of recommendations to apply to the construction plans that they intend on submitting to the DOB.
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Obit> Lenore Norman, 1929-2012

Lenore Norman, a pioneer of historic preservation, died at 83 years old in her home on the Upper West Side on December 21st. She spent over 4 decades working tirelessly to preserve some of New York's most iconic buildings and historic districts. Ms. Norman first stepped into her role as the executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the mid-1970s—a time when the idea of landmark preservation was fairly new and unpopular among some New Yorkers. "The whole idea of preservation was not something that people really understood, and of course, all of the larger institutions and buildings, for the most part, fought it," said Ms. Norman in an interview for The New York Preservation Archive Project. The New York Times described Ms. Norman as someone who was influential, but "did her work behind the scenes" and "was content to let the commissioners, developers, advocates and lobbyists occupy center stage." During her tenure as executive director, she played a critical role in designating a number of significant landmarks including Grand Central, St. Bartholomew's, the neo-gothic-style Woolworth Building by Cass Gilbert, and the Villard Houses by McKim, Mead & White. Her approach with the real estate industry was collaborative, even when discussions grew contentious: "We always try to compromise, to find a way where we could co-exist," said Ms. Norman. Ms. Norman left the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the early 1980s and took a position as the director of intergovernmental affairs at the city's Department of Buildings. In her later life, she served as the co-chairwoman of the preservation committee of Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side—the very neighborhood she lived in and helped designate as an historic district when she worked at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. While a preservationist by profession, she didn't see development as a black and white issue. She understood the need to balance the city's growth with its architectural history. "I want to live in a city that has diversity but I also want it to be reminiscent of what it was like years ago," Ms. Norman said in the interview. "The city has to change, it won't grow if it doesn't, and don't misunderstand, but I don't believe that we are rooted in tradition to the point where nothing new can be built or there can be no modifications to accommodate life as it is today, I think in general, there are verboten areas that we shouldn't be going into."
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Quick Clicks> Anti-Mies, Timber, Thunder, Head Start

  Mies Bashing. For all the glory of Modernist Chicago, there are still those who mourn the loss of the White City's Beaux Arts influence. Historian David Garrard tells WBEZ of the "sterile" Daley Center's ruinous effect on The Loop. One has to wonder what he'd make of Time Out Chicago's "Fifteen Fanciful Ways to Fix Navy Pier." Tiiiimmmmbeeeeerrrrr! Meanwhile, at another Navy locale...Chuck Schumer is hopping mad about contorting being done by the U.S. Army to get out of repairing the 158-year-old Timber Shed at Brooklyn's Navy Yard. The Brooklyn Paper reports that the senator is pressing army brass, which still has control over the building, to fix it or get out of the way and let the city do it. For Sale: Beach front property, water views, lively neighborhood. WSJ reports that the land where Coney Island's famed Thunderbolt roller coaster scared the bejesus out of generations of New Yorkers can now be had for $75 million to $95 million. Way Head Start. NYC Department of Buildings launched their Junior Architects and Engineers Program this week at PS31, reports NY1. (The news clip, starring fifth grade Frank Lloyd Wright fan Thomas Patras, is just too cute to pass up.)

Scale the Scaffolds on DOB YouTube Channel

The NYC Department of Buildings recently launched a YouTube channel. You'd think the department's time would be better spent actually inspecting buildings instead of making videos about inspecting buildings, but a) given the black eye the department suffered after the two crane accidents two years ago, and b) this is a pretty damn good video, let's let our criticism slide. In fact, this simple black-and-white-photos-and-voiceover film verges on tearjerker. "A lot of the companies out there welcome us and are happy to see us out there performing a safety inspection, and then there's that percentage that want no part to do with us," intones inspector Joseph Coben, the Bronx still thick in his voice. Interesting factoids about the three-year-old scaffolding team abound, like how every scaffold gets a walkthrough no matter how dangerous, and how thankful workers are for the inspector getting them off a dangerous site they can't leave without risking their jobs. Grab some popcorn and a hardhat and enjoy.
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More Construction Canvases Downtown, Still No UrbanShed

The Downtown Alliance unveiled "Restore the View" today, the latest installation in its re:Construction program, which gussies up downtown construction fencing. The program began in 2007 and has gotten bigger each year, with five installations done earlier this summer and now three from Pasquarelli, the first artist to conceive of more than one. "Restore the View" just went up over the weekend at the site of Fitterman Hall, across from 7 WTC. "Secret Gardens" will mask road construction on Chambers Street and "Hours of the Day" is going up on a plaza across from the new W Hotel on Washington Street. Not only is it nice that the Alliance is concerned with how these sites look, but it means there is a lot of work still going on downtown. Still, one project is conspicuously missing, and that is the Urban Umbrella, the winner of last winter's UrbanShed competition. UrbanShed was launched by the DOB and the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects with the goal of redesigning those ubiquitous construction sheds that must be set up at even minor construction or renovation sites. The hope was to make something more transparent and accessible, something apparently achieved by the Urban Umbrella. Apparently because the new construction shed was to be installed some time this summer at one of Lower Manhattan's multiple construction sites. So far nothing. James Yolles of the Alliance said it should be up by October, DOB said year's end. Still no word on why there have been delays, but it's too bad because who is going to want to huddle together on a blustery fall day for the ribbon cutting?