Poor Business Decisions Can Cost Big Bucks.

Regarding the small business owner, entrepreneur or building owner, there are things that seem simple to do but often I witness them not being implemented by people. What many don’t realize is if you make a mistake in the design of your space you will loose money.

For instance, I recently found out about how a building owner incorrectly arranged an apartment they were renovating. Being short sighted and showing their lack of experience, they decided to leave the kitchen and bathroom where it was previously, keeping the apartment a one bedroom with the living room looking into the rear yard. Understanding the cost associated with new plumbing, my solution would of been to re-orientate the bathroom and link the kitchen to this, keeping the plumbing costs the same. The result would be that they could have a 2 bedroom apartment with the living room at the front of the building looking out over the downtown skyline. Obviously they could then easily of ask for another $500/month in rent (not only for the extra bedroom but for the views and overall layout) which translates to $6000 in extra income every year…. that’s $60,000 in 10 years. Going rents in that area for a one bedroom average about $2300/month.

Go ahead, throw your money away!
This addition was torn down because the architect violated NYC zoning, forcing the DOB to issue a stop work order. It took over 3 years for the Owners to take it down.


As an Architect, I look for simple solutions that yield the greatest impact for my clients. For me it is a balancing act, bringing all the parts of the puzzle into one coherent, inspirational work.  Now there’s no question that we’re talking about lots of parts, the program, the resulting potential income, the functionality, the visual qualities and so on, but that’s exactly why our society needs highly trained and competent Architects, lest owners are wiling to toss their money on incompetent people.

Oversized by the Owner and architect, this new building couldn't secure a C/O, therefore remains empty 10+ years after construction.
Oversized by the Owner and architect, this new building couldn’t secure a C/O, therefore remains empty 10+ years after construction.

The above new building, built in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, ignored the NYC zoning resolution by the Owner and architect and built this ‘oversized’ monster.  As a result this new building couldn’t secure a C/O and therefore remains empty 10+ years after construction.  You can see it’s impact on the surrounding area, an abused empty lot, graffiti, detonated sidewalk and curb.  Why would anyone in their right mind jeopardize their huge investment on faulty information, an investment that could easily result in bankruptcy ruining a life time of effort.  What happened here is the Building Department reviewed the submittal once they saw what was actually being built and realized it was oversized, thus they issued a stop work order.  End of story.  The only hope for this property owner is to purchase the empty lot next to theirs and hope that the FAR works out, but I can already tell you that this building is setting too close to the rear property line, thus is violating the setback requirements of the Zoning.  All is not lost, but one would need a resourceful Architect (yes with an actual capital ‘A’) to reduce the size of this edifice to one which can be easily altered and allow the property to start generating income to pay off the enormous investment.

Seeing how it’s 10+ years now, I suspect the property owner has already filed bankruptcy.  No wonder developers set up ‘little corporations’ for individual properties.  Better to just hire a competent Architect that is honest, understands zoning, design, schedule and financial responsibility, like, well… SimpleTwig Architecture.llc

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