Residents of the six-story building at 85 Eastern Parkway were shocked when they learned that their landlord wanted to construct an addition atop the building that would double the size of the structure. The plans were first filed in January and called for a seven-story addition that would up the number of units from 42 to 88. DNAinfo reports that the Department of Buildings has since rejected that application, but the project is by no means dead. In March, the building owner, Mordechai Nagel, sent a letter to tenants regarding the addition, noting that plans are still "at an early feasibility and planning stage," but they should "expect a degree of inconvenience as there always is during construction activity."
The apartments are currently a mix of market-rate and rent-stabilized-units, and many tenants have lived in the building for decades. Tenants are, obviously, very worried about the project, and they've started tracking the development on a tenants association website. Chief among the tenants' concerns are the credentials of the hired architect, Sandor Weiss. In 2002, Weiss was fined $5,000 for not properly reviewing plans before signing off, and DOB records show that he has been disciplined twice for improperly wielding his self-certification powers, which he had to surrender in the past.
The plan for the addition still hasn't been approved by the Department of Buildings, but an alteration permit for the "removal of interior partition and plumbing fixtures" was approved in March. Additionally, permits were approved for the renovation of a first floor apartment in January, but the project was hit with a Stop Work Order in March. Shortly after that, the DOB issued another violation after finding workers doing plumbing in violation of the original SWO. The SWO still stands.
The building sits between Washington and Underhill Avenues across the parkway from the Brooklyn Museum. It was constructed in 1922, but it's not located in a historic district. All of the buildings on the block have a similar aesthetic and the immediate neighbors are roughly the same height as no. 85. But the block (which is oddly long due to the street grid in this area) is bookended by 15-story and 12-story buildings, so a 13-story building wouldn't be too out of place—unless, of course, the addition is some garish glass monstrosity.
Article by Jessica Dailey on Curbed.com (New York) on 10 April 2014