The Clinton Street Baking Company was looking to ease the 3 hour wait time for brunch by expanding their dining room and kitchen into the adjacent corner grocery that had just become available. As the project manager I was heavily involved with every step of this project from schematic design, construction documents, bidding, permits and approvals with the plan examiner, to construction administration and sign off.
After working with the client for a number of weeks on various design schemes for the expansion, balancing the desires of the client with the pragmatic requirements for accessibility and egress, we arrived on a plan to offer a variety of seating options, a ‘pancake bar’ and an expanded kitchen that would better serve both the future and existing restaurant.
What seemed to be a straightforward expansion proved to be an involved, multi faceted, back and forth filing process with the NYC Department of Buildings. The horizontal addition and change of egress was filed under an Alteration Type 1 and the dining room renovation was filed under an Alteration Type 2; and those filings referenced each other to make a complete project. While this was more complicated, had the entire project been filled under an Alt. 1 the entire mixed occupancy building would have been required to undergo modern code updates to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.
Pre-demolition revealed that the structural integrity of the ground floor was severely compromised and had to replaced. While this was in many ways a setback it did open the opportunity to rearrange and minimize the existing basement column support grid to better serve the new function of kitchen prep space with walk-in refrigerators.
Through some negotiation with the plan examiner and a meeting with a fire department official, we were able to show a second egress from the basement using a set of stairs that would be shared with the existing restaurant’s kitchen prep area.
It was quickly obvious that the only way to connect the two spaces into one functional restaurant was to build the kitchen extension as a horizontal addition into the area-way at the back of the building. We first had to ensure that the desired addition would not exceed allowable FAR. This Zoning Diagram (ZD1) was attached to the Alt 1 filing. Site surveys, with careful calculations of existing and proposed floor area for the entire building were required for the Alt 1 filling to ensure that the work outlined would not trigger a building-wide renovation to meet code. Additionally, the existing means of egress from the cellar was contested by the plan examiner and further historical research was required to establish pre-existing conditions.
Wall section details also show compliance with code requirements for thermal performance, fire rating and overall compliance with envelope restrictions for the renovation of the existing space into a dining room. To maximize interior space the insulation for the storefront system was integrated into the construction of the bench seating that surrounds the dinning room. Allowances also needed to be made for HVAC and lighting systems.
The kitchen addition, a seemingly simple intervention that spans over the interior courtyard on the ground level, required close coordination with Mechanical and Structural Engineers, building owner, and plan examiner to resolve conflicts and code requirements. Many of the ducts to serve the basement operations had to weave through this space to the existing roof units above.
During the DOB review process one of the objection resolutions was to reroute the make up air through the dining room. With limited clearances and construction of Alt 2 already underway, this had to be coordinated carefully with the contractor Mechanical and Structural Engineers on an accelerated time line to complete the filling resubmission for approvals.
As the project progressed we had weekly meetings working with the contractor to resolve field issues, and talking with our clients to maintain design integrity throughout the process. I would regularly meet with the client to discuss finish material selection, fixtures and equipment options with would be harmonious with the more modern and refreshed space along with the existing restaurant next door. Completing this project after a drawn out filing process taught me a great deal about managing client relations and the inner workings of the New York Department of Buildings with its many revisions and alternate filings.
Clinton Street Baking Company
Biber Architects : New York, NY