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Rendering vs. reality on Smith Street

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Dude — where’s my courtyard?

That’s a question apartment hunters — and state watchdogs — may be posing after spying the new building at Second Place and Smith Street, whose promotional rendering shows an expansive courtyard that is twice as big as it is in real life.

The centerpiece of the project — and the rendering — is the 47-unit, 70-foot-tall rental building, designed by White Plains-based KSQ Architects, a modern structure that is depicted as jutting out boldly onto Smith Street, another architectural tromp l’oeil.

Critics immediately seized on the overstated parkland when the image was released last week — but now a state lawmaker says she’ll investigate.

“It’s misleading,” said Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), suggesting that the broker or developer could face sanctions under a state law that forbids “fraud or fraudulent practices [or] dishonest or misleading advertising.”

Misleading it is.

If the building, whose height is known, is used as the scale for the computer-generated rendering, the garden would measure 131 feet long. In fact, it is about 80 feet.

Planter size is also exaggerated: one is depicted at 35 feet long, but we measured it at 23 feet. The other two are about 15 feet long, but in the rendering, they’re about 26 feet in length.

How skewed is the rendering? Its proportions are so off that if this rendering were actually reality, the average human being would stand at a mere 4-foot-4.

Jeff Gershon, developer of the controversial $14.9-million project, did not return a call for comment.

But real-estate broker Sha Dinour, of Manhattan-based Triumph Properties defended the renderings, offering up an explanation that would make Brunelleschi — the father of linear perspective — scratch his head.

“It’s not that the size is not accurate — it’s that the angle of the camera is not what you can see with the naked eye,” Dinour said.

Besides, he added, the expectation is that prospective tenants will come to the site and look at the building before signing a contract.

“We’re not renting on spec based on renderings,” he said.

Prospective tenants have certainly not been deterred: Fifty percent of the building has been rented in just two weeks, according to Dinour.

The building’s reception is a far cry from its contentious past. In 2007, residents protested the structure’s size, arguing its presence was anathema to the neighborhood’s low-rise aesthetic.

In the wake of those protests, Carroll Gardens was rezoned in 2008, but a city panel ruled that enough of the building’s foundation was poured to allow work to continue — even though the zoning change now caps buildings at 55 feet.

Neighbors were appalled by the rendering.

“When they build buildings like this, they promise you the world, but they don’t give it to you,” said Richard Garbellotto. “But it does look better than it was when there was just a big lot with a bunch of cars.”

Still, tenants should get what’s depicted, added Caroline Cato.

“If this is the plan, then it should be like that,” she said,

Even other developers were bemused.

“The outdoor space is nowhere near that big,” said David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers, which bailed on a massive residential complex along the Gowanus Canal.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jon Q Public from Carroll Gardens says:
Tax dollars at work!
wow they made the landscaping seem wider than it was - OMG! lets have a Congressional Hearing.
Its a f'ing rental, if you dont like the Garden than dont sign a lease....this isnt a condo offering taking deposits pre-construction

and BTW the building in the drawing is identical to the building in real life.

Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), please try focusing on actual issues.
May 10, 2011, 9:09 am
Outraged Resident from Carroll Gardens says:
The 20 some odd people who signed leases without going to the building and seeing the actual size of the entry ought to demand their money back! Bring back the rat infested parking lot and Plaza with cracked concrete and garbage filled tree pits. We don't need skyscrapers here.
May 10, 2011, 9:47 am
Edmund from Garshe says:
The outrage! a cartoon isn't 100% accurate! Who has time to debate this kind of unimportant stuff? Oh a publicly elected official of course, much more productive than solving the myriad of problems effecting residents of Carol Gardens. Let's tear down the building and build a bigger park? It is a nice park at a subway stop, bravo to the developer! Some nice new housing may supress prices in older buildings so let's justrelax and for those of you worrying about this go volunteer or get a job!
May 10, 2011, 2:19 pm
carol from gardens says:
It's a nice park, and a big improvement. Now at least the sidewalk and station will be clean and safe!
May 10, 2011, 2:20 pm
CGGuy from Carroll Gardens says:
The people who rented DID see the building. They're not renting a spec as the RE agent said. I agree the rendering is ridiculous but no one signed a lease without seeing the place.
May 10, 2011, 3:28 pm
whatever says:
big deal.
May 10, 2011, 5:09 pm
very from worried says:
That this is even an issue its clear there are a bunch of loosers who cant afford the bldg and have nothing better to with their time....get a job people!!!! and stop hating ...
May 11, 2011, 9:25 am
007NSPTOWERI from WILLIAMSBURG says:
“The outdoor space is nowhere near that big,” said David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers, which bailed on a massive residential complex along the Gowanus Canal.

COMPLAINTS DEPT.
Disgruntled Northside Piers Buyers Declare War on Toll Brothers
Thursday, March 24, 2011, by Joey Arak

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49
Ever since buyers began moving into the first Northside Piers tower back in 2008, complaints about the construction quality of the Williamsburg waterfront condo complex (which now includes two towers with a third to come, eventually) have popped up on message board threads and in the occasional blog post. But now irate Northside Piers residents are taking things a step further. It seems they have launched a full-on media offensive. Two articles have just been published documenting a laundry list of complaints about the Toll Brothers-developed towers, including shoddy workmanship and Bianca Jagger's worst enemy, mold. Strap on a surgical mask, because we're diving in!
Outlet: New York Post
Headline: Williamsburg waterfront condo residents complain of 'shoddy' construction
Complaints: leaky walls, poor insulation, mold, faulty plumping, faulty sewage system, faulty heating, faulty air-conditioning. And the biggest: "The windows are thin and the seams between the panes allow wind and rain to easily come through, residents say. Some residents have taped around the window panes, but they say rain and air still blows in."
Best resident quote: "We were promised luxury living if we came across the River from Manhattan to be part of the resurgence of North Brooklyn. I was not expecting such shameful and shoddy workmanship."
Toll Bros. response: The company "is aware of these isolated situations and strongly disagrees with the allegations as they have been presented. It "will continue to honor its obligations and provide the quality and customer service for which it is known."
Now on to Northside Piers Takedown II, which is written by Williamsburg activist Phil DePaolo, who is quoted as a source in Northside Piers Takedown I.
Outlet: Williamsburg Greenpoint News Arts
Headline: Luxury Living is Taking a Toll, Brother!
Complaints: Non-union labor, leaks, those darn windows, outrageous utility bills because of those darn windows, "——" floors, floods, mold, mildew and some sort of wide-ranging conspiracy between Toll Brothers and the property manager to engage in "bad faith, criminal negligence, and blatant disregard for the health and safety of residents and the public." Oh, and "The Board conducted a questionnaire and as many as 88 owners have some form of complaint regarding their units."
Best resident quote: "I’d be happy if I didn’t hear my neighbors. I was told that what I was describing should not be the case. I’m not an expert, but this leads me to believe the wall is defective. I’m certainly not tearing down the wall and fixing this with my own dollars."
Toll Bros. response: "The Board apparently had a meeting with Toll Brothers this past Tuesday. They claimed Toll Brothers have 'changed their tune.' It seems during the meeting, Toll Brothers recognized that all the complaints are not isolated incidents, and are serious problems. They claim that Toll Brothers have agreed to remedy the complaints, not just with quick fixes."
There's even a Martin Act mention, which usually means one thing: Here comes a lawsuit! Any Northside Piers residents out there want to back up or refute these claims? Especially this guy. We're always interested in what he has to say.
· Northside Piers [Official Site]
· Northside Piers coverage [Curbed]

Toll Brothers Senior VP David Von Speckelsen and his Senior Assistant Scott J. Arvam Should know better. Northside Piers Tower One is plagued with "omissions" in their 164 Kent Avenue LLC PROSPECTUS. Misleading and deceptive prative on MAPLE Flooring when the sponor installed engineer wood. Thus, Ms. Millman needs to investigate Phill Depaolo investigation news article. Then investigate Northside Piers Toll Brothers Plauges. Gentleman eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Northside Piers Tower I owners are persuading the MARTIN ACT with the NYC ATTORNEY GENERAL. Keep your ears to the ground as the NSP Indians WAR is ON!
May 14, 2011, 9:17 pm

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