MAIN ENTRANCE: SCRAFFITO DETAIL IN ENTRANCE ARCHWAY CEILING
THE BELNORD APARTMENTS
Upper West Side, New York, NY
This is a remarkable apartment building designed by Hiss and Weeks in 1908, that occupies a full city block containing 225 apartments with an interior landscaped inner courtyard. In 1966 The Belnord became the first designated building on the Upper Wets Side and was entered on the National Register of Historic Properties that same year.
In 2004, Extell Development gave PACA the first of many unusual projects, the first one being the reconstruction of a disassembled marble fountain. While working on the fountain, PACA was given additional tasks that included updating the Building Master Plan, replacing the retail storefronts, design and installation of a two pairs of monumental entrance gates, and a multiyear façade restoration program. Most recently, PACA was retained by the new building owner, HFZ Capital Group for additional alterations to the courtyard to create new openings to the tenant amenity spaces, a new central lobby and the installation of a guard booth, previously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This year marks our twelfth year working on this building.
FOUNTAIN, INNER COURTYARD
The fountain was disassembled and relocated to a storage yard near Newark, New Jersey when the basement space was excavated as part of a 74-711 Special Permit to create additional retail space and income to pay for the restoration and rehabilitation of the building. Four years later the reconstruction began involving the cataloging 78 pieces with no drawings or inventory to assure that all of the carved blocks were salvaged. The first task was a set of measured drawings of each stone that were then reconstructed, as if a three-dimensional puzzle, to establish the placement and orientation of each component piece. At the reconstruction side in the courtyard a new reinforced concrete base was formed that would include a chamber beneath the fountain to house the fountain plumbing drains and control panel for the new basin lighting.
Until recently, there was no documentation as to the quarry or the sculptor of the fountain, which we confirmed was quarried and carved at the Rutland-Florence Marble Company in Fowler, Vermont. Working with A. Ottovino Corp. at their stone yard in Queens, each block was inspected and the conservation treatment noted and performed. New plumping and an internal pump was provided as well as recesses for pool lighting to light the fountain at night. Fiber optic lighting was inserted through the central water jet to illuminate the water spray in the basin. The color of the light can be changed via a control panel located in the basement beneath the fountain. The lower pool of the fountain was lined and finished with traditional polished marble dust, white Portland cement and plaster.
Belnord Extell Development
Consulting Engineers: Wayman C. Wing
Marble Restoration Contractor: A. Ottavino Corp
Fountain Basin rehabilitation: Aqua-Tech Recreation Inc.
Electrical Contractor: Gunzer Electric Corp.
Plumbing J.E.S. Plumbing & Heating Corp.
RESTORATION OF THE FACADES & REPLACEMENT STOREFRONTS
Recent research has been found confirming the builder, George A. Fuller Co. and that the terra cotta was made by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company. An advertisement lists The Belnord with an asterisk that lists The Belnord Apartments along with the Municipal Building and the McAlpine Hotel as the “largest building of its kind in the world.” The other predominant materials are limestone and copper applied over the courtyard bay windows and the deep ornamental cornice.
In coordination with the New York City Façade Inspection Safety Program Cycle 7, PACA was retained to work along side Vidaris, the engineering firm retained to perform the inspection, Local Law 11/98. Over a three-year period (2012 to 2015), the entirety of the façade (perimeter street facades and the courtyard) approximately 260,000 sq, feet were inspected, mapped and cleaned with in kind repairs or replacement in certain areas. The contractor executing the repairs worked in step to minimize disruption to tenants and maximize efficiency regarding manpower and swing stage scaffolding. The upper level of the courtyard contained the majority of substrate and steel frame rust and corrosion, and the courtyard parapet wall and railing needed to be re-built. The penthouse cladding was also replaced as it was originally corrugated galvanized tin over stucco, This was replaced with a similar profiled corrugated sheet metal panel by VM Zinc.
Belnord Extell Development
Structural Engineers: Vidaris (formerly Israel Berger & Associates)
General Contractor: Canido-Basonas Construction Corporation
Storefronts: American Industries Corp. and NA Solutions Inc.
ORNAMENTAL DETAILS, NEW ENTRANCE GATES & GUARD BOOTH
Although The Belnord did not originally have gates, the West Side was not always a welcoming place and safe at night. New large entrance gates, this time with separate operable gates for pedestrians at either side were designed and installed with a lantern above each pedestrian gate. The initial “B” was added for “Belnord” and to quietly commemorate one of the owners.
As part of the pedestrian safety and traffic control plan for cars and van deliveries to the interior courtyard apartment entrances, a guard booth was designed and approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2007. This was to provide surveillance and control vehicular traffic crossing the sidewalk. The guard booth was designed as a modest and moveable shelter not attached to the historic building replacing the guard booth that is located behind the gates, with no visibility of pedestrians and vehicles.