Eastern Parkway Residents Fear 7-Story Apartment Building Addition

By Rachel Holliday Smith on April 10, 2014 6:46am 

 Construction would add seven floors to the top of 85 Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights.
Construction would add seven floors to the top of 85 Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Plans for a six-story building near Grand Army Plaza to more than double in height have residents worried their home will be disrupted by years of construction.

The owner of 85 Eastern Parkway, a 42-unit complex near Underhill Avenue, has filed an application to build a seven-story addition on top of the building, records show. Tenants of the building called The Martha Washington said they fear being bombarded by noise and dust, and even being moved out of their apartments.

“The whole block is in an uproar,” said 23-year resident Alison Kelley, who walks with a service dog and worries about elevator access to her fourth-floor apartment during construction.

Residents of the mixed market-rate and rent-stabilized building near the Brooklyn Museum first heard about the planned 30,000-square-foot addition when a real estate website wrote about an application building owner Mordechai Nagel and architect Sandor Weiss filed with the Department of Buildings on Jan. 10.

The DOB rejected the application, saying drawings provided were incomplete, DOB records show.

Concerned residents posted fliers along Eastern Parkway asking for help stopping the project, and reached out to the landlord. David Mandel of Triple J&R contracting spoke with tenants at a meeting Jan. 15 and told them construction would last about two years, they said. 

In March, residents received a letter advising them to “expect a degree of inconvenience as there always is during construction activity.

"The project was, and still is, at an early feasibility and planning stage," the letter continued.

Among residents' concerns are the credentials Weiss, the architect. The state Office of the Professions fined Weiss $5,000 in 2002 for signing off on architectural plans three times that neither he nor a colleague had reviewed, according to state records. Weiss has also been disciplined twice by the DOB for misrepresentations in architectural plans, according to DOB records and an investigation by the Daily News.

The DOB hit the building with a $5,000 fine on March 26 after officials caught workers doing plumbing in violation of a stop-work order in a first-floor apartment renovation, records show. The stop-work order still stands.

Residents said they've been given no indication the project is on hold.

Weiss referred questions about the project to Nagal, who did not return calls.

Jim Purvis, a member of the 85 Eastern Parkway Tenants Association, university professor and 27-year resident, said he wants open communication with the landlord and architect.

"We want an amicable solution," he said. "If this turns into a turf war, everybody will lose."

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