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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 51, no. 1315: May 27, 1893

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May:a7, 1898 Record and Guide. 825 ESTABI.;SHED^;WJtKCH?li!^ie66.^ PRICE, PER TEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. Tblefhohb^ .... CoaTLARDT 1370. OoniiniinlcatloQs ataoald be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14 & 16 Vesey St, J. I. LINDSEY, Business Manager, '^sintered at tive Post-offlce at New Tork, N. F., oa aecond-class matter." Vol. U. MAY 37, 1893. No. 1,316 VERY little that ia new can be said of the world of money. Thereare failures here, there and everywhere now as there were a week ago ; the latest ones so far have only lengthened the list, they have not relieved the aituation. The same distnist and suspicion that have been in the very air for so long prevail and create an indisposition to trade insecurities, consequently the stock market is very dull, rising only on pi-ofessional manipulation, but rapidly declining again on realization. No better indication of the dullness in business iu this liue could be received than the intima¬ tion that some recent offerings of very good bonda have been ouly partly taken and that the underwriters will have to carry a large balance for some time before they can hope to see it absorbed by investors. This condition of things means a further period of stagnation, with a sagging away of prices in many directions highly probable. The Richmond Termi¬ nal plan of Dresel, Morgan & Co.. which it was hoped would help the situation very materially by finding a satisfactory solution for a problem that has done much harm, has so far only been ioju- rions. In fact this plan seems to find its only support amoug the people who have none of the securities treated; the holders are either throwing over their stocks and bonds or raising protests against the treatmest it is proposed to give them. Tliat the Foster failure had so little influence on prices was due to the nan-owness of the market, and in this can be found a reason for believing that until the situation has worked into a more satisfactory con¬ dition any attempt to put up prices will bc discountenanced by the conservtive element which is now the controlling element. THE totals of English foreign trade for the month of April do not sustain any shght hopes of a revival of prosperity that may have been excited by the figures of the previous month. The imports show a decrease of about two and three-quarter million pounds in value as compared with the corresponding month of last year, which is mainly attributable to the same causes that have been in operation during the previous three months, viz.: low prices of cereals, the decline in the receipts of textile materials, chiefly raw cotton. The total decrease in imports for the month is about 7 per cent, while for the four mouths it amounts to 11 per cent. In the exports there is a decrease of a million pounds and a quarter, chiefly in textile fabrics and metals, while machinery also shows a heavy falling off. The decline shown is 7 per cent as compared with April last year, which is about the aame ratio as that shown by the figures for the four months, but as last year's returns also showed heavy decreases it is difficult to perceive any features of encouragement on the face of the present situation. Of all the in¬ dustries of Great Britain it is generally admitted that the iron in¬ dustry is in the" most unsatisfactory condition. The cotton trade is also very much depressed, but this depression is of less general importance because the ramifications of the industry are not so wide. If there is stagnation in iron manufacturing, the industries which supply iron ores, coal, coke and limestone suffer equally with those who use those products iu the processs of manufacture. No recent economic change affecting the iron industry has been more notable and pronounced than the decline in the English production of iron ores, and none is more calculated to arouse apprehensions as to the future. The British furnaces are becoming more and more dependent upon imports from other coun¬ tries, not because there is any scarcity of domestic ores, but because the purer and richer ores of Spain meet more exactly the present needs of the iron manufacturers. The outlook for any immediate improvement in the prices of stocks is considered to be extremely poor. Money has become comparatively stringent, and the uncer¬ tainty of our own currency position is a menace to dealings which look very far ahead. One conservative authority predicts that specu lation for the present will be confined to South African and American properties. Although the boom in the former securities has been checked there is no doubt that they possess many elements of promise. The Randt gold industry is being steadily developed and the estates of the great land companies are likely to be rapidly opened up by railway lines, Still the fact remains that present prices are mainly or entirely based upon what the future may possibly contain. In spite of the recent collapse a great many securities which yield either small dividends or none at all still sell at premiums of from 100 to 500 per cent. APPLICATION was recently made tojthe Department of Bnild- iugs for permission to alter the five-story buildings at the southwest corner of Broadway and 35th street for hotel uses. The Superintendent of Buildings refused to issue a permit on the ground that hotel buildings, whether new or altered structures, should be fire-proof according to his construction of the requirements of the building law. The lessee of the property applied to Chief Judge Daly, of the Court of Common Pleas, for a mandamus to compel Superintendent Brady to issue a permii, maintaining that it was necessary for him to make only the first floor fire-proof to comply with the law. Section 4b4 of the building law requires that every buildiug hereafter erected, to be used as a hotel, the height of which exceeds 35 feet, shall be built fire-proof. Section 480 pro¬ vides that every building hereafter altered, to be occupied as a hotel, five stories in height, or having a basement and four stories in height above a cellar, shall have the first floor above the cellar, or lowest story, constructed flre-proof. This is exactly what the framers of the building law intended— that new hotel buildings shouId)|be constructed fire-proof, and that buildings altered to be occupied as hotels should conform ta the requirements of the law fcr new tenement houses by having one lower floor made fire-proof. It may appear inconsistent forthe law to require that a new buildiog for hotel uses must be constructed fire-proof while an old building can be converted into a hotel pro¬ vided one floor only is made fire-proof. Neverthelsss, the distinc¬ tion was knowingly made inthe law. Following the fatal Hotel Royal flre the Committee who were engaged iu revising ihe build¬ ing law were requested by the FireM^^iommissioners to insert in the law requirements that all hotels and lodging houses thereafter erected should be constructed fire-proof. At a conference of the Committee and Commissioners the latter waived their request for fire-proof lodging houses, and the requirement for hotel buildinga thereafter erected to be constructed fire-proof was adopted. The Bommittee well knew, however, that the law also provided for alterations to buildings for hotel purposes which would only have to be made fire-proof iu part, and they so intended. So much for the intent of the law as far as stated. IF sections 480 and 484 were the two sections of the law only in controversy, the applicant for a mandamus against the Super¬ intendent would have won easily. But tbe attorney to the Build¬ ing Department brought in section 471, which says that no building already erected shall be altered in such a manner that were such building wholly built or constructed after the passage of the act, it would be in violation of any of the provisions of the law. The wording in this section 471 has remained without alteration for the past fifteen >ears or more. Wben the present Department of Buildings was for many years a Bureau in tbe Fire Department, the attorney to the Fire Department construed the language of tbis section to apply to the new portions added to a building, if raised, altered or built upon, the law giving to the Superintendent ample discretionary powers to decide as to the safety of a building for alterations. Under this construc¬ tion, the building law was administered during the twelve years that the Bm-eau of Buildings was in the Fire Department. A literal interpretation tbat tbe whole .building must be constructed accord¬ ing to law, as amended from time to time, would have prevented thousands of alterations to buildings, whicti have been made in the past. It would prevent, for example, the owner of a four-story dwelling house from building a butler's pantry extension, unless the old building, as regards thickness of walls, etc., was fully up to the full requirements of the new law, as in most instances they are not. THE attorney to the new Department of Buildings insisted on the language used in section 471 being construed to mean juat what it says, and the Judge leaning, as Judges are quite apt to do, to the side of a city Department, denied the application for a man¬ damus. Notwithstanding Judge Daly's decision, which is by no means final, the i)roposed alteration of building for a hotel ie in accordance with law, as the law provides for alterations as well as for new hotel buiidiugs. The act itself declares that the law iato be construed liberally, and the public was led to expect by the per¬ sistent advocates of a separate Department of Buildings that the building, plumbing, light and ventilation regulatious would be ad¬ ministered in a more liberal and just spirit than was formerly the practice in the Fire aud Health Departments, but if the decision in this hotel alteration case is to stand, it would appear that ownera