Marianne Schaefer in Bricks & Bucks on September 16, 2020
Even in the best of times, most capital projects come with surprises and setbacks, not to mention the accompanying added costs. During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these projects have tended to become even more challenging and expensive. Yet there are rare exceptions that prove the rule, including the Thornycroft, the 100-unit, pre-war Tudor-style co-op at 209 Garth Rd. in Eastchester, which just completed a capital project where everything went “as smooth as smooth can be,” in the words of the contractor.
“Such a Tudor-style building has a lot of decorative wood,” says property manager Artie Guttilla of Garthchester Realty. “The building also has a penthouse with a lot of wood on three sides. All that lumber was rotting away and had to be replaced.” In addition, the parapet that rims the roof of the building was leaning outward and had to be repaired. “It was not in danger of falling down, but it required maintenance,” Guttilla says. “We certainly were obligated to take care of it.”
The compromised parapet meant crews had to erect a pipe-scaffold all the way up to the roof of the six-story building, which supports the two-story penthouse. With the scaffold already in place, the co-op board decided to not just address the rotting wood, but to replace all the wood with a synthetic look-alike called Azak.
Then came one of the job’s few surprises. “Once we were up there, we also discovered that we had to restore the chimney,” Guttilla says. “It desperately needed to be replaced. It was just one of things one discovers as one goes along.”
Enrico Bragaglia, president of the project contractor, Allstate Restoration, says the 1928 building presented unique challenges. “It’s a beautiful building, but not easy to work on,” Bragaglia says, citing multiple colors of brick in different patterns, plus stucco, slate and wood elements, and ornate turrets. “But the board decided to do it the right way. They hired an engineer. They wanted to make sure we kept the exact same design and look. It was a little tedious, but the job was smooth as smooth can be.”
Even the mandated COVID-19 safety measures did not slow down this project. “Basically the guys were all wearing masks and it was all exterior work,” Guttilla says. “We only had to set up a small sanitizing station. Also, the work did not interfere with the residents in the building or in the penthouse.”
The combined repairs of the parapet, the wood replacement and the rebuilding of the chimney were accomplished in a little over a month – an unheard-of four weeks ahead of schedule. The repairs cost $173,000, and since the building had the money in reserve, there was no maintenance increase or assessment.
“Everything went smoothly and much better than expected,” Guttilla says. “We did not run into any kind of complications where there was a bogeyman in the closet who made life miserable.” He attributes the smooth sailing to several factors: “The men who were working on the job were very professional, and they did an outstanding job. We had the best crew you could ask for, the best weather you could ask for, and we did not run into any kind of complications. It was like a dream come true for us – especially considering the amount of work that had to be done and what we were expecting.”
PRINCIPAL PLAYERS – PROPERTY MANAGER: Garthchester Realty. CONTRACTOR: Allstate Restoration. ENGINEER: John Annunziata.
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