Still new, but already under repair

Still new, but already under repair
The green building at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street is just two years old, but its facade is already being repaired.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

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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