4:06 PM 02/03/2013
Im considering purchasing a 3500sq ft single story warehouse building in Brooklyn and converting it to a single family house. It's roughly a 40x80' structure with other buildings sitting flush against it on 3 sides. There are only 2 small windows on the front facade. I have 3 questions...
1. To let more light in my idea is to cut off a portion of the roof and create somewhat of an interior "courtyard." In the attached pic, the green outline is the current structure and the red is where I would cut off the roof to create an 800sq ft outdoor space. Is this a completely stupid idea? It would still be surrounded by buildings on all sides but without this the building really couldn't be converted to residential. It would be a cave.
2. Im also considering the possibilities of adding a second story and wondering if anyone knows a ballpark figure of what that would cost? I know there are a plethora of factors but Im just looking for ballpark.
3. Being that it was a former warehouse, should I be concerned about toxicity? If so, do I have to commission some kind of environmental study prior to purchasing?
Thanks so much in advance!
Is the building zoned for residential? If not, you might be out of luck from the start, and find it impossible to get permits to do the conversion work or add another floor on to the building for residential use. Also, cutting part of the roof off is going to create some pretty colossal drainage issues. You'd have to spend a huge amount of money repitching the ground and installing below-ground drains. Is their a basement? because in that case it would be even more difficult to deal with the drainage issues. Skylights would be a better choice, but even those frequently leak.
4:29 PM 02/03/2013 | 0 Votes
Three years ago, I was considering the same thing. I looked at two commercial spaces as yours and consulted with several architects. Both spaces took the entire lot. I wanted to add garden space, but keep the high 20+ ft walls around the garden for privacy. City regs stated garden walls not taller than 8 ft I believe, so one architect came up with the idea of opening up an interior courtyard for garden space and light, as you suggest. The back end of the structure could have been my studio or storage space, depending on how far back we dropped in the opening.
As for adding a second story to the structure, rough estimates were $300K-500K depending on the size and amenities added.
4:33 PM 02/03/2013 | 0 Votes
commercial building purchase. If not all cash, 30% down for financing I think. Environmental study required before conversion to residential - If residential is even possible. Probably at a cost of 30k barring any clean-up or removal of burried tanks. At least three months for the environmental, maybe as much as six months. Calculate carrying costs. Probably another three months(on the low side) for approval for conversion. I would estemate at least a year before you could obtain permits to begin work.
You could keep commercial and build a "care takers apartment". If you could use a live/work space, its a possibility. There is a maximum sq. ft for the live based on foot print of the building and zoning.
Either way, its a tall order, not cheap, and not fast. Good luck.
6:05 PM 02/03/2013 | 0 Votes
Everyone above makes valid points - what you're suggesting would be complicated if it's even possible. There are probably 10 or more zoning/code issues that would have significant impact on the feasibility of the idea. A few of these are:
Can you even legally do a conversion in the zone the building is in? If you can, you'll need to meet the requirements of Article 1 Chapter 5 of the Zoning Reg's, which deals with the conversion of commercial buildings to residential use.
You'll need to meet the regulations for natural light and air for all habitable rooms. Those windows have to be on the street, or at least 30' away from a side/rear property line. Removing some of the building to create a setback or courtyard would help with this, but again, depending on your zone, there may be restrictions on what can be removed.
I love the idea of creating a central courtyard, but there are regulations about that too - minimum dimensions between the walls - and those distances are greater if there are windows in those walls.
In the end, only way to really know is to hire a good architect to do an initial zoning study and untangle these issues before you purchase the property.
James Cleary Architecture
10:10 AM 02/04/2013 | 0 Votes
Thanks for the great advice everyone. The property is zoned M6/M7 so it can be converted but that's about all I know.
James, I'll definitely contact you when the time comes.
3:05 PM 02/04/2013 | 0 Votes
Hi emery - manufacturing districts are M1, M2, and M3, with subgroups w/in each main group. Did you mean that the property is zoned M1-6?
James Cleary Architecture
6:23 PM 02/04/2013 | 0 Votes
Some folks on 15th street between 7th and 8th avenues are doing what you want to do right now. Can't seem to post a link but if you go to NYC DOB BIS page you can read through the application files. Address of project is 396 15th Street Brooklyn.
12:29 PM 02/05/2013 | 0 Votes
12:37 PM 02/05/2013 | 0 Votes