Since 1984, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners LLC has advised private, corporate, government and institutional clients in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties. The firm approaches every project with the view that historic buildings have a unique identity as complex physical objects, and containers for ideas. This insight is the basis for the firm's recognized ability to integrate and articulate every project's specific combination of technical, esthetic, intellectual and government review issues.
In one firm, HQ brings together the expertise of historic preservationists, architectural historians and architectural conservators. This broad combination of backgrounds allows HQ to provide clients with procedural guidance and technical preservation services in all facets of historic preservation, from planning and approvals through execution. The firm's skills in assessing both historic building fabric and documentary evidence help deepen a development team's understanding of the meaning and context of existing historic structures, and strengthen their practical grasp of the construction sequence, condition and relative significance of component parts.
HQ's primary specialty is historic preservation review under federal, state and local legislation. Specialties at the local level include reviews under the New York City Landmarks Law, Sections 74-711 and 74-79 of the Zoning Resolution, and the CEQR and ULURP processes. State and federal-level specialties include historic preservation review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), Section 1409 of the State Historic Preservation Act, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The firm is the leading New York City-area consultant for federal rehabilitation tax credit certification.
The firm consults to local governments and institutions on preservation planning issues, preparation of local historic district legislation, and development of historic preservation review guidelines. It also maintains an active practice in project planning and feasibility analysis for reuse and development of historic properties, as well as in such technical areas as historic structure reports, conditions assessment, historic construction analysis and masonry conservation.
HQ starts each project by assessing existing historic fabric and its evolution over time. This information is particularly valuable in assisting architects in understanding hierarchies of significance as well as the technical aspects of restoration and rehabilitation. It provides a rich source of inspiration for creative design, and a sound basis for deciding what to keep and what to change. HQ works closely with the project team in exploring the client's program needs, the architect's design intentions, and how these can fit into the evolving historic narrative of the built fabric. This information, usually presented as written reports and spoken presentations, is often invaluable in helping regulatory agencies understand the nature of the historic fabric and the appropriateness of proposed alteration or new construction for its historic context.
Once a project has received its preliminary approvals, HQ continues to work with the project team to define the technical and regulatory requirements for the restoration and rehabilitation of historic building fabric. We work with the project team - including owner, architect and contractor - in developing appropriate restoration recommendations and specifications, and in ongoing field review.
The results of this unique collaborative process are clear in the hundreds of projects that HQ has successfully guided through local, state and federal review. It is also evident in the awards that these projects have received over the years. But it is most evident in the broad range of projects that HQ works on in any given year - from small restoration projects that require extensive and accurate historic documentation and onsite assessment of historic fabric to large new buildings that profoundly affect the built environment on an urban scale.