Chris Ragalie

Much hullabaloo was raised by housing advocates when Comptroller Scott Stringer put out a report claiming the HPD was sitting on 1,125 vacant city-owned lots. About half of those are in Brooklyn, 363 in Queens, 112 in the Bronx and 98 in Manhattan. You can see a map of those vacant lots here.

The reality is not all those lots are buildable. What is the difference between a bad lot and one ripe for housing? (more...)

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The launch of bricklaying robot SAM by Construction Robotics has caused rumblings that the end in nigh for human construction workers. SAM, short for semi-automated mason, can lay an astounding 3,000 bricks a day, six times more than the average human. SAM is not entirely unique in an industry that has adapted to technology of the years. Currently there are new technologies in the field that automate demolition, surveying and welding tasks in construction. (more...)

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Recently the DOB changed some of its application fees for residential buildings. Some fees went up, some went down. The news fees were originally laid out by LL56 of 2016, but only implemented into DOB systems on March 5, 2018. For the new fees, the DOB created of new classification and pricing tier for buildings above and below 7 stories and 100,000 square feet.

New Building Fee Increases

The minimum fee goes up from $100 to $280 for new buildings that are 7 stories or less and 100,000 square feet or less that are not 1,2 or 3 family dwellings. (more...)

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In early 2018 the Regional Plan Association (RPA) put forward its solution to New York’s longtime affordable housing crisis—remove residential FAR limitations in Manhattan. On its face the idea seems radical. The FAR cap, a New York State addition to the Multiple Dwelling Law, prevents developers from building to the sun, peppering medium density to mid-rise districts with Towers of Babel. Upon closer look, the idea to remove FAR caps in Manhattan attempts to pick up where the recently passed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) falls short. (more...)

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New York City Buildings in occupancy group E over 100 feet in height will soon have a building code fire to put out. Local Law 26 of 2004 mandates that these large office buildings be equip with a full system of automatic sprinklers by July 1, 2019. Local Law 26 applies retroactively. That means a lot of buildings in Manhattan will be installing fully automatic sprinklers in 2018-19. (more...)

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In its ongoing effort to increase construction safety, the DOB is increasing penalties for work without permit violations and stop work orders with a series of Local Laws.

Local Law 156 increases work without a permit fees. Work without a permit fees for one or two-family homes will increase from the current four times cost of the permit to six. The minimum penalty for work without a permit also increases from $500 to $600. (more...)

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The DOB released two local laws that will move buildings with high ECB fines closer to foreclosure. Tax liens and distressed properties were previously limited to owners that defaulted payment.

Local Law 152 changes the definition of “distressed property” to include not just tax liens as a result of DOF fines owed, but “a tax lien or liens that result from an environmental control board judgment against the owner.” The lien or liens to value threshold remains at 25%, as determined by the DOF. (more...)

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