Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eyesore on 12th St & 4th Ave Soon to Be 12 Story Building

The former beer distributor at the corner of 4th Avenue and 12th Street has been an empty lot since the fall of 2004.

In December 2003, the building was bought by developer Park Slope Group, who planned to build a 6 story, 145,000 square foot building with 96 units of housing. Shortly before the winter of 2004, there was a flurry of activity for about a week as work crews installed plywood construction fencing and tore the building down. The demolition was halted on November 4, 2004 by ECB for failing to carry out a safe demolition. Since then, nada.

The demolition permit expired in December of 2004. As recently as June 19, 2006, the date of the last DOB inspection, no new permit had been obtained. The hearing against MMG Design, the construction group, for this latest ECB violation is on August 7th at 10:30am in the Brooklyn DOB office. They were last cited $2,500 in May of 2005 for the identical problem, in addition to the November 2004 citation for $2,000 for failing to carry out a safe demolition. Both citations remains unpaid.

Since November of 2004, the sidewalk has been about two feet wide, interrupted by two trees, forcing pedestrians out into the street. If you go by, you’ll see drunken looking fencing curving this way and that way, and a fair amount of trash and dog feces on the small amount of sidewalk that is still open. The inside of the lot is relatively clean, especially when you consider that it’s essentially been an abandoned lot for almost two years.

Change may be on the way, however – it looks like the developer is trying to get moving on this again. On June 22nd, the city approved a building plan submitted by Michael Matrisciani of the Park Slope Group, working with Scarano Architects, who received the Project of the Year Award from the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, and who is also building the 12 story tower at 255 4th Avenue at Carroll.

The plan calls for Scarano to build a 12 story building with 130 units, at an estimated cost of $3,940,000. Although much of the South Park Slope area was recently down-zoned specifically in order to protect low-density areas in the area from further high-rise development, much of the 4th Avenue corridor allows for buildings up to 120 feet. 4th Avenue is primarily zoned R8-A, which idesignates high-density contextual districts. The Dept of City Planning says that this type of zoning is “designed to maintain the scale and form of the city’s traditional moderate- and higher-density neighborhoods. These districts are mapped where buildings of similar size and shape form a strong neighborhood context or where redevelopment would create a uniform context.”

By zoning much of 4th Avenue as R8-A, the City says that it is trying to create incentives for the development and preservation of affordable housing. However, R8-A zoning requires that development be consistent with the character of the neighborhood. Opposition to the planned 12 story building on 4th Avenue and 12th Street comes from the Park Slope South Community Group, who are concerned about the pace of development in the neighborhood, and have posted signs reading “Kill the 12-story monster” nearby. To stay up to date on this, check out the Park Slope South Community Group’s website.

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