The Briarwood Apartments property extends block-to-block and avenue-to-avenue, holding 280 units in two nearly identical buildings. The existing buildings were situated off-center on the lot, creating an awkward 60-ft. rear yard. Site challenges included complicated zoning issues, a sloping site, parking constraints, as well as the impact of an addition on the existing structure. After seeing our success on another project in Queens, the client retained us to do an investigation of the site’s development potential. Two other architects had previously assessed the property and determined they could only build a small, 30-unit building on the corner of the lot.
With every project, we know there is a puzzle to solve and that anything is possible. We carefully navigate the Zoning and Building Code, which is often misunderstood, and involve the Department of Buildings in our analysis to ensure compliance. For this project, we obtained three “pre-considerations” from the Department of Buildings to clarify zoning issues that could potentially affect the feasibility of the project later on.
Where other consultants saw only a large backyard and an unsightly view of the back of a building, EDG envisioned a completely new structure. With our expertise in the Zoning and Building Code, we designed a compliant addition that spanned over 600 feet in length. With two new building segments, our thorough investigation enabled the addition of 180 units to the property.
The EDG team initially performed a property analysis for this entire city block on 106th Street, from street-to-street and avenue-to-avenue, between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The goal of the project was to unlock the maximum value of the property by utilizing the maximum allowable floor area, repurposing existing space, and increase parking on the site. As a result, our work includes designing approximately 170,000 sq.ft. in total new floor area and renovating 48,000 sq.ft. as part of over 10 projects throughout the development site.
The owner previously retained two other consultants who determined only 20,000 sq.ft. of the remaining FAR could be used. We revisited the original zoning analysis performed on the existing site and found multiple locations available to construct approximately 170,000 sq.ft. of gross floor area. Our work also included navigating the Harlem-East Harlem Special Purpose District, as well as recent rezonings and the original zoning at construction. We looked at the site holistically, carefully examining the existing building's operations, while considering the seamless integration of the proposed buildings. We also considered structural considerations for all proposed work.
Our high-level understanding of zoning and building design experience gives us the advantage of having a complete picture of a development site. For this project, we navigated a large number of zoning and code considerations, including subdividing the site. We de-risked dozens of potential issues on an incredibly complex site to make the development possible. As a result of our initial work finding ways to capture the full underutilized FAR, we are currently designing the reprogramming of 48,000 sq.ft. of ground floor spaces, including: retail, commercial and community facility space; a 60-car parking garage expansion; additional commercial/community facility space; the consolidation of lobbies to recapture floor area; as well as the design of a new 21-story residential tower.
The project was for the property assessment and site planning of four zoning lots with existing buildings on the waterfront in Long Island City, Queens. The subject property extends street-to-street, encompassing two corners, and is an Inclusionary Housing site. Massing and 3D renderings were prepared. We are currently in schematic design for the new building.
The size of the site gave us some flexibility, however the existing buildings on the site created constraints. We needed to be sure that our proposed lot merger didn’t create a new non-conformance with yards or distances between buildings. The property also had a portion of the site with a Landmarks designation, and although we were able to work the design around the boundaries, we worked with Landmarks to ensure compliance.
Ultimately, we determined that the site had approximately 200,000 sq. ft. available and usable, far greater than the owner’s original estimate of 60,000 sq. ft., provided by their previous architect. Yards and courts were carefully navigated to maximize the use of floor area on the site while providing maximum and minimum building dimensions that lend well to the future design of the apartments. The site is in a flood zone, so residential occupancy is not permitted at ground floor, and the site is not on a retail corridor, so we dug in deeper for ground floor use. We utilized the existing occupancy at the ground floor, looking to lower the use from existing manufacturing to public parking, which will be of great benefit with the new ferry opening nearby.
Having seen what EDG could do on other projects on the property, the client retained EDG to review the development potential of the site. A 13-story building currently exists on the site. The building is the shape of an E with a large yard, which forms the shape of a C, not visible from the street.
This project is near the top of the list of complicated projects, which EDG has grown to specialize in. EDG found that with improvement bonuses, up to 235,589 sq. ft. could be added to the site. This resulted in an additional 25 stories, for a total tower height of 37 stories. The new structure partially penetrates the three existing floors of retail and two cellars, requiring extensive coordination. In addition, a new separate entrance for the tower lobby needed to be provided.
Floor area bonuses require special permits, tied to relocation of subway entrances and other improvements, which needed to be assessed. Egress for the new tower was also carefully navigated through the existing egress stair towers. For wind and seismic loading, EDG designed an exterior structural support system which minimized the impact on the interior of the existing structure. Upon completion of our work, EDG worked with the client and CMs to prepare preliminary cost estimates.
The Fire Island Pines Pavilion bar and nightclub is an icon of Fire Island Pines, one of New York's favorite summertime getaways since the 1950s. In 2011, a devastating fire destroyed the original Pavilion, and EDG was brought on to serve as the structural engineer for the new 8,000-sq.ft. structure. EDG worked alongside award-winning architectural designer HWKN who crafted a dramatic design to honor the legendary site.
It includes a terrace, outdoor bar and lounge, indoor bar, and dance floor with bleachers at each end, as well as a gym and three retail spaces. Although the venue regularly serves as a club and hosts parties at night, the space is also used for performances, as an art gallery, and even a wedding chapel in the daytime. To celebrate the Pines’ beloved beach culture, the design incorporates exposed-wood surfaces and structural materials throughout, creating the perfect beach backdrop for any event.
This three-story building (Lenox Avenue Addition) with a cellar is located in Harlem, NY. The construction is brick and cast iron, supported on pile foundations. EDG performed a feasibility study for the addition of one to three stories on the existing structure as well as the replacement of the existing structure with a new building. EDG's work included planning, architectural design, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering and cost-estimating. Previously, EDG was the architects, engineers and project managers for the 9,000-sq.ft. Red Rooster restaurant and event hall, which span two levels of the building.
Because the building was occupied during design, EDG took the least invasive approach for the foundation test pits and probes. EDG looked to configure the addition so that it was supported by the vertical and lateral supports of the existing building structure. Designing the addition to this 80-year-old structure required a deep understanding of historical construction types.
Once EDG determined that reinforcement was required, EDG designed the addition so only one line of columns required reinforcement and so the ground floor restaurant could continue to operate during construction. EDG then outlined the requirements for the addition to determine costs for project feasibility.
Design of a new 12-story, mixed-use building, approximately 140,000 sq. ft. in Queens, NY. The apartment building includes a community facility and parking garage below. EDG provided engineering design, specifications, and construction observation services for the project.
Lack of communication is often the cause of failure on projects, so EDG put a lot of focus on it here. One example of this is engaging the construction manager as early as possible for a constructability review to confirm that the project design is compatible with the means and methods of the intended construction, as well as to discuss the feasibility of all details. EDG also review potential complications that EDG has experienced on past projects, as they tend to repeat themselves.
EDG always does our part to improve the project team’s communication because it saves our clients significant amounts of time and money. EDG's efforts prevent costly redesigns which are often incurred in merging design and construction requirements.
For this Tribeca Penthouse project, we worked with award-winning architectural designer, Steve Blatz. We performed the structural design for the gut renovation of a 6,000-square-foot apartment and a 5,000-square-foot addition of vegetative green roof space and landscaped roof decks. We investigated the existing structure for the remediation of construction defects and managed legal work associated with the penthouse addition and structural support of the green roof and roof decks.
After finding evidence of issues with the existing construction, we performed probes to identify the defects. Had we waited to investigate the structure, like many consultants do, we would have needed to completely redesign the project during construction, halting work and increasing the budget. This project included extensive interior alterations, where structural work involved a new interior courtyard, interior column removals, and reinforcement of existing structural elements. The roof decks were required to be independently supported so that loading was not transferred to the cast iron frame.
All of the construction defects were handled without having to demolish any of the existing structure, which saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. All new work was carefully designed so the existing cast iron framing was not used as structural support, and apartments below were not affected. The contractor for the project was impressed by EDG’s communication with them, as well as our focus on constructability, and has since recommended us on several projects.
Located in Chelsea, near the West Side Highway, this four-story building was on the market with great development potential and asked about addition feasibility. The client retained EDG to provided zoning and building code analysis, egress, architectural design, and structural analysis for potential future expansion.
We performed due diligence to create a full picture of the property and the existing building. We reviewed records from the Department of Buildings, including violation history, occupancy records, and previous filings. All of this information can greatly affect the value of the property. We then carefully reviewed the buildable floor area to determine the full development potential of the site.
With our extensive experience in practical cost estimating, we produced multiple development scenarios, including base repairs, an addition, demolition and reconstruction. In all options, we navigated complicated zoning and building code to fully utilize the site and deliver a much larger building. Ultimately, we gave the client a complete understanding of the existing property value and potential.