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Thread: Brownstoner Slams Scarano

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    Default Brownstoner Slams Scarano

    From Brownstoner.com commenting on NYTimes Story posted immediately following...

    March 08, 2006
    Another Death on a Scarano-Certified Site

    When does coincidence become a pattern? That's the question Robert Scarano should be asking himself this morning. Manipulating building codes and giving the finger to entire communities is one thing; being consistently involved as a certifying architect in projects where workers are injured or killed is another. With news yesterday of Anthony Duncan being crushed by a collapsing wall on a worksite at 733 Ocean Parkway, the Scarano-related death count reached three (207 South 1st and 187 20th Street). We know what he will say (in all capital letters, no doubt): It's the developer's and the contractor's fault, not mine. Okay, we might be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in any one isolated incident. What about when it happens twice? Three times?

    Even if he has no legal culpability (which we are not in the position to judge), we hope this latest catastrophe will at the very least make Mr. Scarano do a better job of picking his partners. At a certain point, it's like being the grown up who leaves a loaded gun out on the table and then says it's not his fault when a child shoots himself. Mr. Scarano, you must have made enough money that you can stop whoring yourself out to bottom-of-the-barrel clients who cut every corner they can. Please, stop enabling their irresponsible and dangerous behavior. How can you sleep at night?



    March 8, 2006
    Worker in Brooklyn Dies as a Wall Falls

    By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and ANN FARMER
    A construction worker was killed yesterday morning when a garage wall collapsed at a building site in Brooklyn, investigators said, and the city has cited the building's owner for three violations.

    The worker, Anthony Duncan, 46, was removing wooden molds for an underpinning meant to buttress a garage wall next to the construction site at 733 Ocean Parkway when the wall collapsed. Firefighters worked quickly to remove the debris covering Mr. Duncan.

    But investigators believe he was killed by the impact of the collapse, said a Fire Department spokesman, Deputy Chief David Jakubowski.

    A woman who answered the phone at the A-1 Construction Expo Corporation, a Brooklyn-based general contractor at the site, said Mr. Duncan worked for a subcontractor, but she would not provide its name. Mr. Duncan was helping to excavate the property to make way for an eight-story residential building.

    After the fatal accident, the city's Department of Buildings cited the property owner, Viera Novak, and O.P. Equities, a Manhattan company listed on construction applications filed with the department.

    One violation was for failure to safeguard the public and property during a building project. The other two were for not having required paperwork available at the site.

    Four previous complaints were made against the owner from June 2005 to January of this year, but inspectors found no violations when they visited the site, according to the department's online database.

    Ms. Novak did not respond to messages left yesterday at her home and at O.P. Equities.

    The collapse remained under investigation, city officials said. Deputy Chief Jakubowski said that firefighters, fearing a second collapse, quickly built a wooden structure to provide more support for what remained of the garage wall. "It was a somewhat tense situation," he said.

    Rosalia Rosete, 52, whose husband and son worked with Mr. Duncan, said she knew him as a hard worker. She said her son, Junior Garcia Rosete, 26, screamed for help when the wall collapsed and tried to lift debris off Mr. Duncan.

    "It could have happened to all three of them," she said, sitting in her car by the construction site. "It could have happened to my husband or son."

    Mr. Duncan, whom co-workers described as a veteran of the construction trade, was born in Pennsylvania and lived in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He wife and children still live in Pennsylvania, according to neighbors.

    "He's a hard worker, " said Oscar Seaton, 81, a retired postal worker and a neighbor of Mr. Duncan's. "He's always polite. He never passes without saying: 'Hello, Mr. Seaton. How are you?' "



    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

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    thems fighting words from the normally calm brownstoner.

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    How Big Is Too Big?


    Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
    Robert M. Scarano's building at 4 East Third Street
    in Manhattan has drawn fire from critics who say
    it is too big.

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN
    NY TIMES
    Real Estate
    April 16, 2006

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/re...=1&oref=slogin

    It is not hard to spot the buildings that Robert M. Scarano Jr., an architect, has designed in New York City: they tend to be a lot bigger than the other buildings around them.

    In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mr. Scarano's building at 78 Ten Eyck Street is about twice as tall as the modest three-story houses on either side of it. In the East Village, the new building at 4 East Third Street, at the Bowery, rises to 16 stories, far above the other buildings on the block, including a row of 18th-century town houses.

    Mr. Scarano has played an active role in the city's current construction boom, particularly in Brooklyn, where he has numerous projects in rapidly changing neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Brighton Beach. His designs have brought him plenty of business from developers rushing to take advantage of rising real estate values.

    But the sheer bulk of many of Mr. Scarano's projects has prompted some residents to complain that he ignores the zoning code and puts up buildings that are simply too big, blocking the light and views of their neighbors. And too often, they say, the city has stood by and done nothing.

    Stephanie A. Thayer lives in Williamsburg and has been active in protests over a tall building designed by Mr. Scarano that is going up at 144 North Eighth Street. She was also involved in years of community debate that led to a major rezoning in Williamsburg last year, including lower bulk and density restrictions for much of the neighborhood.

    In contrast, she said, Mr. Scarano, with his outsize buildings, seems to have "single-handedly rezoned his own little development plots."
    Now Mr. Scarano is beginning to draw greater scrutiny.

    The city's Buildings Department has accused him of knowingly ignoring building codes or zoning rules in submitting plans for 25 apartment buildings in several Brooklyn neighborhoods. Mr. Scarano was scheduled to attend a hearing on the charges on Thursday, but the hearing has now been postponed. Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the Buildings Department, said the agency is continuing to look at other projects submitted by Mr. Scarano.

    According to the petition outlining the charges before the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, at least 17 of the buildings cited in the charges were designed with more floor area than was allowed under zoning rules.

    At the core of the case prepared by the Buildings Department is the contention that Mr. Scarano abused the honor system that allows architects and engineers to police themselves by approving their own building plans.

    Known as the professional certification program, the honor system was instituted under the Giuliani administration and was meant to trim costs by cutting the workload for the city's plan examiners. It was also intended to eliminate obstacles to building in a city where, at the time, construction projects could be delayed for months while builders waited for plans to be approved.

    By participating in the professional certification program, architects guarantee to the city that their plans meet zoning and building codes. But the city has experienced a tremendous boom in new construction in the last several years, and officials have begun to worry that the honor system leaves too much room for architects and developers to run roughshod over zoning rules and safety regulations.

    In response, the Buildings Department has drafted a series of changes to its disciplinary procedures that would make it easier to pursue architects and engineers who it believes are code scofflaws — one proposal would give the department's commissioner the right to pre-emptively strip them of the right to certify their own plans. The proposed changes were presented to a group of industry members last Tuesday.

    If the city succeeds in its case against Mr. Scarano, he will be required to have all his plans approved by city examiners. He would be the first architect in more than a year to be barred from signing off on his own plans under the professional certification program, according to data on disciplinary actions posted online by the Buildings Department.

    Ms. Fink said one reason there were few recent cases was that several staff members left the department's investigative unit last year. She said that the unit has since hired more investigators.

    The complaint about many of Mr. Scarano's buildings is not that they are too tall or break height restrictions. Instead, the city contends that they are too big in another sense: they exceed limits on square footage, making them too bulky.

    The building at 78 Ten Eyck Street, which has 11 condos, is typical of many of the buildings designed by Mr. Scarano. In plans submitted to the city in 2003, he described it as a four-story building. But it is at least 55 feet tall, more typically the height of a five- or six-story building, and it dwarfs its two- and three-story neighbors.

    That is because Mr. Scarano included three mezzanine floors, turning the apartments into virtual duplexes, with an upstairs and a downstairs and a double-height ceiling in the living room.

    But when it came time to calculate the square footage of the building to show that it qualified under the zoning code's floor-area limits, Mr. Scarano said the mezzanine floors were exempt and subtracted their 2,442 square feet from the total.

    The Buildings Department reviewed the plans for 78 Ten Eyck early last year and stopped work on the condo project, informing the developer, Lipe Gross, that the building, which was nearing completion, was too big.

    In response, city records show, Mr. Gross paid $200,000 to a neighbor to transfer 2,000 square feet of air rights to his property in an attempt to make the building legal. He has also agreed to make some of the mezzanines smaller, further reducing the building's square footage.

    Mr. Gross said that when the issue of the floor area arose last year, Mr. Scarano told him that in his understanding of Buildings Department rules, he was not required to count the mezzanines because the low ceiling height, just over seven feet, exempted them from floor area tabulations. "He was understanding that it was kosher," Mr. Gross said.

    Mr. Scarano refused requests for an interview. A lawyer for Mr. Scarano, Raymond T. Mellon, said that neither he nor Mr. Scarano would answer questions related to the disciplinary case before the hearing. Mr. Mellon has filed papers with the city denying the charges and saying that the city's interpretation of the building and zoning rules was subjective.

    Gloria Sinchi literally lives in the shadow of 78 Ten Eyck, in a rented apartment in an English basement on Leonard Street. She said her three children no longer play in the small concrete yard behind their apartment. That is partly because of the construction, she said, but more because the yard is now deep in the shadow of its towering neighbor.

    The building at 78 Ten Eyck, which is called Tower 78 in marketing materials, occupies an L-shaped lot, and Ms. Sinchi's yard is hemmed in by the two legs of the L, with high walls on both sides. "It's all surrounded," she said.

    Mr. Gross took his condos off the market last spring after the city audit. But other condo buildings designed by Mr. Scarano have been completed and are now occupied by new apartment owners.

    Mr. Scarano designed the buildings at 63 and 69 Stagg Street in Williamsburg, around the corner from 78 Ten Eyck. Here too, Mr. Scarano described the Stagg Street buildings, in documents filed with the city as 55-foot-tall buildings, each with four stories and three mezzanines. In drawings submitted to the city, Mr. Scarano estimated that the maximum allowable floor area permitted for each of the two buildings was 6,600 square feet.

    Nonetheless, the drawings indicate each building has a total of more than 10,000 square feet of space. To account for the difference, Mr. Scarano deducted from his zoning calculations for each building nearly 1,800 square feet of mezzanine space and more than 2,000 square feet of basement space that made up the lower level of a ground-floor duplex. Each building contains eight units.

    The Buildings Department audited Mr. Scarano's plans last spring and let the work continue, then gave the buildings certificates of occupancy in July.

    But now the city contends in its disciplinary complaint that Mr. Scarano's calculations were faulty and that the mezzanine and the basement space should have been counted as part of the overall floor area of the buildings.

    Ms. Fink, the Buildings Department spokeswoman, said the city's investigation of Mr. Scarano applies only to the drawings and other documents he submitted. In some cases, she said, zoning violations may have been addressed to bring the buildings into compliance before they were completed. But she said she was not permitted to discuss details of the projects, including the status of finished buildings like the ones on Stagg Street.

    While several of the buildings have been completed, some are under construction and work on others has not yet begun. Ms. Fink said the city would eventually have to consider what to do with completed buildings that may have too much floor area or may contain other violations.

    The mezzanine has become something of a Scarano signature and has made Mr. Scarano's services very much in demand. Developers, as a rule, are eager to maximize the square footage of their buildings, and in many cases, Mr. Scarano's mezzanines have given them a way to do just that.

    Mr. Scarano has been prolific in recent years, and an analysis of Buildings Department data online suggests that the buildings cited in the city's case may be part of a broader pattern. According to the online data, Mr. Scarano has submitted plans for at least 299 new buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island since the early 1990's; 44 of those have been completed.

    Among Mr. Scarano's filings are plans for about 150 buildings containing one or more mezzanines, virtually all of those coming in the last six years. Approximately two-thirds of the buildings with mezzanines are described in Mr. Scarano's filings as having four stories and being at least 54 feet tall, suggesting the designs have similarities to the Ten Eyck and Stagg Street projects already targeted in the city's investigation.

    Mr. Scarano has incorporated mezzanines into plans for much larger buildings as well. One of his more ambitious projects is a 172-foot-tall condo tower with medical offices planned for 62 Brighton Second Place in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, in an area of mostly one- and two-story bungalows. Each of the proposed building's 10 apartments has a mezzanine with a terrace and bathroom.

    But in zoning calculations submitted with his drawings, Mr. Scarano deducted more than a third of the building's total residential square footage, including all the mezzanine space. In this way, a 14,000-square-foot building manages to squeeze into a 9,024-square-foot zoning envelope. The building is not one of those cited in the city's disciplinary case against Mr. Scarano, and the project was issued a preliminary permit in January.

    Whether mezzanines should be counted for zoning purposes will most likely be a major issue when an administrative law judge decides the case involving Mr. Scarano. Zoning rules include mezzanines in a list of building features that must be counted as floor area. But there is at least one exception. The Buildings Department's guidelines for architects and engineers say that mezzanines intended as storage space can be omitted from floor-area calculations if they have ceiling heights of five feet or less and are accessible only by a ladder.

    Mr. Scarano routinely labels mezzanines as storage space in his drawings and related documents. But in case after case, they contain windows and bathrooms or laundry rooms, are reached by a staircase and are clearly intended as living space.

    While neighborhood residents accuse Mr. Scarano of breaking the rules, other developers ask if the rules are being applied evenly. Kris Corey is completing construction of a pair of four-story rental buildings at 264 and 268 Devoe Street in Williamsburg. In recent months he has watched as another developer put up a building designed by Mr. Scarano at 270 Devoe next door.

    Mr. Scarano's building — described in filings with the city as four stories with two mezzanines — is taller than Mr. Corey's buildings and appears to have substantially more square footage.

    Mr. Corey said he asked his own architect about the difference. "I said to him, 'Did we shortchange ourselves?' " Mr. Corey recounted. "And he said, 'You're built to the max by the letter of the law.' "

    "It's not fair," Mr. Corey said. "If he's allowed to do it, why couldn't we?"

    Mr. Scarano's building on Devoe Street has not been audited by the city and is not included in the Buildings Department case.

    Kevin Shea, a lawyer and expediter who helps architects and building owners negotiate the labyrinth of zoning rules and Buildings Department procedures, has been waging a campaign against Mr. Scarano's 16-story building on East Third Street at the Bowery.

    Along the way, he said, he has confronted what he contends is a willingness of the Buildings Department to ignore apparent zoning violations or to find creative ways to make zoning rules fit Mr. Scarano's building, rather than the other way around.

    Mr. Shea submitted a brief to the city's Board of Standards and Appeals last November detailing numerous objections to the building, which he says has many zoning violations and substantially more square footage than should be allowed. This building is also separate from the city's disciplinary case with Mr. Scarano, and largely involves different zoning issues.

    To what degree it may be overbuilt depends partly on what the building is used for. That is because the zoning rules allow different amounts of square footage for apartments, for which it was originally designed, than for hotel rooms, for which it is currently being reconfigured.

    Mr. Shea contends that it is too big in any case. "I think four floors should come off the top," he said.

    An interest in the building was sold last year to the group of developers that created the fashionable Maritime Hotel on West 16th Street at Ninth Avenue. They hired a new architect and a zoning lawyer, and have been in discussions with Mr. Shea and city officials.

    "This doesn't seem to be an egregious violation of the zoning," said Richard Born, one of the new investors in the project. "There are issues, but they seem to be resolvable."

    Mr. Shea was reluctant to be quoted as saying anything critical of the Buildings Department, since he works with it on a regular basis, but he said he felt compelled to speak up about Mr. Scarano and what he sees as a willingness of officials to bend the rules.

    Mr. Shea said he first notified the Buildings Department in May 2004 that he believed there were problems with the design of the East Third Street building. The department conducted an audit that raised numerous concerns, but after a brief halt, city officials let work proceed, and the building is now largely completed.

    In his brief submitted to the Board of Standards and Appeals, Mr. Shea accuses the Buildings Department of coining novel interpretations of its own rules in an effort to let Mr. Scarano's building stand. "If the answer to how big a building is or what you can do in the construction industry is 'whatever you can get away with,' then I'm out of business," Mr. Shea said.

    He said the Buildings Department had "lost control" of the honor system that allows architects and engineers to sign off on their own work. "The program rests on a promise and a threat," he said. "The promise is that of the professional, that his plans conform to the code and the zoning resolution.

    And the threat is that, if the Buildings Department finds out otherwise, they're either going to discipline the architect or order remedial measures to bring the building into compliance.

    "Four East Third Street is what happens when an empty promise is met by an empty threat."

    For the Record

    The main front-page article in the Real Estate section today, about Robert M. Scarano Jr., an architect who has been accused by the New York City Buildings Department of ignoring building codes or zoning rules when submitting plans for his projects, misstates the number of sites named in a disciplinary action against him. It is 25, not 26.

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  4. #4

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    This guy will lose his license, and probably deserves to.


    * * *
    Btw, most of Scarano's stuff doesn't look bad. The Third Street building in the photo would look better if the tower were fenestrated --even with fake windows.

    I know, I know...he was thinking of similar towers in Bologna and San Gimignano...

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The green protective scrim has come off of the Bowery / 3rd "tower" and the facade work is quite an improvement: multi-toned brown brick with "iron"-looking windows with multiple small panes (think classic 30's NYC windows).

    It's still a monster of a building for that area -- as is the dorm building that went up nearby a few years ago using similar zoning trickery.

    Plus: On a building this size to hide the water tower within a structure as they have done here only increases the mass of the building --and serves no other positive purpose.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    On a building this size to hide the water tower within a structure as they have done here only increases the mass of the building --and serves no other positive purpose.
    With just a little additional thought, it could.

    The rest of the building integrates rather nicely with its surroundings, which would benefit from a slight hike in average size. There are plenty of fat lumps elsewhere that would make better targets for railing against.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    I know, I know...he was thinking of similar towers in Bologna and San Gimignano...
    If so then either he has a really bad eye or is just talent-free -- as this has none of the grace or grandeur of those old towers.

    Yeah, yeh one could say "But he was limited by zoning" --

    Seemingly that doesn't faze him -- and if an idea can't be executed with some integrity then perhaps it's time to go back to the drawing board.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    If so then either he has a really bad eye or is just talent-free -- as this has none of the grace or grandeur of those old towers.

    Yeah, yeh one could say "But he was limited by zoning" --

    Seemingly that doesn't faze him -- and if an idea can't be executed with some integrity then perhaps it's time to go back to the drawing board.
    Folks often blame architects for the sins of others. You'd be amazed how little control architects actually have over their final product.

  9. #9

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    A couple things I'd like to say about the article:

    It's obvious that Scarano is getting away with things that he should not be. However, people are complaining way too much. Example: Tower 78 is 55 feet tall, and the next door neighbor is complaining that she is walled in on 2 sides of her yard. Fair enough. But, zoning allows it to be 40 feet tall. What is the big difference over that 15 feet? Honestly, it's not a big deal.

    Example 2: The person who wants 4 floors chopped off the E 3rd St tower. How much of a difference is that going to make?

    I hate that Scarano is cheating on his projects, but at the same time, most of them look great. He is a fantastic modern architect which is badly needed in Brooklyn, with the onslaught of a million Fedders buildings ruining the streetscape. At least we get something good from him, unlike Radusky who cheats and puts up the ugliest buildings in the city.

    The 172 foot tower in Brighton Beach may be pushing the limit, though. That, next to 1 story bungalows, is a big deal, and residents may have a point on that one.

    So what are they going to do with these completed buildings that have broken the law? They cannot be taken down, can they?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117
    So what are they going to do with these completed buildings that have broken the law? They cannot be taken down, can they?
    Developer had to remove top floor of a building in Boston; he thought authorities wouldn't keep count.

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    In 1993 NYC DOB made a developer remove 12 stories on a building that had been "over-built" on the upper east side:

    Fewer Stories and More Sky on Upper East Side

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP
    NY TIMES
    March 2, 1993

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...50C0A965958260

    Demolition crews are cutting an Upper East Side apartment tower down to size -- the size required by New York City's zoning rules.

    The removal of the top 12 floors from the 31-story building at 108 East 96th Street, which has never been occupied, ends a seven-year battle that pitted the developer, Laurence Ginsberg, against city officials and local leaders who noticed that the tower plans exceeded zoning limits.

    "It marks the first time that a skyscraper in New York City has been reduced in height due to a zoning violation," said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat who has represented the neighborhood both in the City Council and now in Congress.

    "It serves notice to every developer that the zoning laws of our city will be enforced," she said...

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 / NY TIMES
    How Big Is Too Big?

    ... Mr. Scarano was scheduled to attend a hearing on the charges on Thursday, but the hearing has now been postponed.

    ... officials have begun to worry that the honor system leaves too much room for architects and developers to run roughshod over zoning rules and safety regulations.

    Ms. Fink said one reason there were few recent cases was that several staff members left the department's investigative unit last year. She said that the unit has since hired more investigators.
    What's up with that?

    Early retirement?

    Tom-foolery?

    Investigative reporters: Follow the Money ...

  13. #13

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    So with the UES tower, no one had yet moved in.

    There are people in Scarano's buildings.

    I think the buildings should remain as they are if occupied, since it would be unfair to buyers, however, Scarano should be charged big, big fines.

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    DUMBO-based Architect Deplores
    Sameness, Uniformity; Prefers a Mix

    Robert Scarano Responds to Charges He is
    Ignoring Building Codes, Zoning Rules’

    By Linda Collins

    DUMBO — “We’re trying to raise the standards of what has been the typical residential unit in the city and in Brooklyn,” Robert J. Scarano Jr. of Scarano Architects told the Brooklyn Eagle yesterday. Scarano, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, is an award-winning successful architect with over 300 projects currently in the borough. He’s just going through a spate of bad press and difficulties with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) right now.

    Several blogs and an article that appeared in The New York Times Sunday are taking him to task for his “too big” buildings,for including mezzanines (or lofts) in his units and not including their square footage, and for “ignoring building codes and zoning rules.”

    Does he feel he is ignoring building codes and zoning rules? “We’re not. We can’t, and we won’t,” he said. Why does he build tall buildings? “Because it’s permitted. If it wasn’t permitted, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said Scarano, pointing out that developers obviously want to build what they can build and, given a small lot footprint, it often means he must go higher.

    But Scarano believes it’s OK to have a mix of height and bulk on one block.

    “I don’t think there should be uniformity and sameness,” he said. “Tall and small, bulky and less bulky, side by side, I think it’s nice.”

    The whole idea of the loft apartment was to have flexible space and more space, according to Scarano. “If you’re allowed 60 percent lot coverage and 55 feet in height and the allowable floor area is a 2.0 FAR and that gives you three-and-a-half floors, what do you do with the extra height? We pushed that into the living spaces, creating double-height units with mezzanines. And you want that space in the living room and dining room and maybe the main bedroom, but not in the other rooms (kitchens, baths, home office etc). And we were allowed to exclude the mezzanines from the floor area based on memorandums that were circulating in the 1980s,” he said.

    “Everyone likes them and they bring higher prices,” he added. “It’s a tremendous profit source. It’s also good for the city. The city gets revenue for it. And at the end of the day, they get the tax revenues, too,” he said, explaining that those can be $20,000 from a rental building, but $70,000 from condos.

    Regarding the hearings he is facing now at the DOB and the threat to the self-certification process for architects, he appears somewhat philosophical.

    “It’s a very esoteric conversation going on right now. We’ve had a great relationship over the years with them [the DOB] and we’ve been following what they’ve been doing for 27 years and there’s been a great deal of respect for us. But there’s so much outside pressure on them right now,” he said.

    The self-certification process was put in place during the Giuliani Administration when it was decided that the more qualified architects could be given more power and the city could streamline the permit process, according to Scarano.

    “Since then the City was typically looking at 10 percent of the jobs but suddenly began to find some egregious problems — not the mezzanines, more serious stuff — so now it’s grinding to a halt,” Scarano said.

    “The hearing basically is to find out if we can do our jobs without a review. But at the end of the day, the self-certification issue may already be dead,” he continued, explaining that banks and lenders will back off; they are not feeling comfortable with funding a project where there may be questions. So, regarding self-certification, it will be a moot point.”

    One positive outcome Scarano sees is that the issue of mezzanines will be clarified.

    “I think they’ll come to terms in finding more definitive answers on it, and I think they will try to clarify the language so that we as architects will know exactly what will be permitted.”

    Asked if there is overbuilding in Brooklyn, he said, “No, not at all. We have a tremendous way to go before we’re overbuilding. If we were overbuilding, the prices would be dropping. The reason that prices are remaining up is that there’s still such a demand.”

    Meanwhile, he has his vision for Brooklyn: the need for more for-sale affordable housing; and filling in for the very old housing stock that’s existed for the last 50 years without much change, primarily the old three- and four-story multi-family wood frame buildings.

    “Obviously, a four-story fireproof multi-family building is a better built building,” he said.

    But more than that, he is pleased with the designs that come out of his firm, which has over 60 architects.

    This newspaper has reported several times in the past that Scarano’s firm was the recipient of architectural design awards — from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the AIA and, most notably, the five he won in one year as part of the Ninth Annual Design Awards Competition sponsored by the New York Council of the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA), which included the following: two Awards of Merit (for 171 N. 7th St. in Williamsburg and The Arches at Cobble Hill); one Award of Honor (for The Toy Factory Lofts at 176 Johnson St. in Downtown Brooklyn); and two Awards of Special Recognition (for 2908 Emmons Ave. in Sheepshead Bay and the Greenpoint Redevelopment Plan). In 2005, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presented a “Brooklyn Icon Award” to Scarano, saying he “truly represented faith in Brooklyn.” “And keep doing what you’ve been doing, creating a unique architectural statement for Brooklyn,” Markowitz said at the event, a gathering of developers, architects and builders which took place at Scarano Architects’ DUMBO offices.

    To the assembled guests, Markowitz said, “You are the bedrock, you’re rolling the dice, you’re spending your money because you believe that Brooklyn is strong enough of an investment. And saying that, we must make sure that the middle class, all economic classes, can continue to live here. Brooklyn has the greatest diversity — ethnic diversity and economic diversity — of any city in the entire northeast and we want to keep it that way. All of you are brilliant, all of you are creative, you can make this happen.”

    Said Scarano, “We’re very proud of these awards. It shows we’re building quality projects.”



    © Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2006

  15. #15

    Default

    Scarano's stuff mostly looks pretty good. He's a much better than average architect, regardless of what he may or may not be getting away with. The two are separate issues. He may or may not have ethical problems, but aesthetically he's on firm ground. I agree with his visual judgments; if they do indeed violate zoning, maybe the zoning needs to be rethought --as is so often the case.

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