Today’s news:

Still new, but already under repair

The Brooklyn Paper

A building that was once dubbed “one of the last success stories of the great boom” is already undergoing repairs to its leaky facade less than two years after construction was finished.

Scaffolding now covers half of the “green” condo building at 515 Fifth Ave. as workers fix leaks in what one worker called “a bad waterproofing issue.”

“They did a bad job on the building,” said the worker. “They’re using this foam stuff [an artificial material called Parex] and a skin coat of cement. That’s what they use with all these buildings. You go to all the buildings on Fourth Avenue, you see this.”

The building’s architect, Joanna Frank, didn’t make it sound that bad, calling the work just “maintenance on the facade,” but she abruptly cut off the conversation, saying, “This all sounds very gossipy. I don’t want to discuss this anymore with you” before the line went dead.

Frank and her partner Aida Stoddard started Bright City Development in 2005, and the building at the corner of 13th Street is the company’s first project.

The residence is a showcase of green construction trends, featuring sustainable bamboo flooring and cabinets, no-toxicity paints and varnishes, low-water toilets, EnergyStar-rated appliances, a green roof and solar-powered outside lighting.

Buyers have certainly responded. All 15 units in the six-story building have sold, prompting Brownstoner, a real-estate Web site, to call it “one of the last success stories of the great boom.”

One resident, Rebecca Wexler, said she likes the building, but wouldn’t go that far.

“Overall, it’s been great living here, but it’s unfortunate that the facade problem came up so soon after it was built,” she said.— with Aaron Short

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Aaron Brashear from Greenwood Heights says:
No surprises here folks. Once again, with all my love to our new neighbors in new condos built in the past 5 years, I have to say again:

I told you so.

Shoddy construction on a "green" building due to a rush to compete within the market has lead to another mess, just like so many other new developments. And it's only two years old. God help all of us, new owners included, to what affect these defective and decaying structures will bring to the neighborhoods in 10 years, heck 5 years?

And if this is any indication as to what can happens in just tow years, on what was supposedly touted as a responsible development, I can't wait (well, actually I can) to see what happens on any of the monsters on 4th Avenue, on 15th/16th Street and right in my back yard with the 11 buildings on the 614 7th Ave...which use the same:

"using this foam stuff [an artificial material called Parex] and a skin coat of cement. That’s what they use with all these buildings."

...Already showing signs of aging and they are not even sold, nor occupied yet.

As a community activist I sadly feel vindicated. As the chair of CB7's Buildings & Construction committee, I humbly look forward of working with our new neighbors when (not if) they come to the Board for advocacy as their building's crumble.

A sad day in Mudville.
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:15 am
Carl Robichaud from Park Slope says:
It's too bad that this article singled out two of the more responsible developers in the neighborhood (from what I've seen, Stoddard and Frank take the long view and have invested in a lot of green and sustainable features for this building.)

These sorts of problems happen when contractors and subcontractors get careless (problems are sometimes compounded when developers go the extra mile and use green materials that contractors are unfamiliar with.) Nevertheless, I expect that in the long run these ecological measures will still more than pay for themselves. Overall it's still a high quality building.
Dec. 9, 2009, 10:23 am

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