Construction resumes at controversial 200 Amsterdam Avenue tower

April 27, 2020

Rendering courtesy of Binyan Studios

Construction resumed last week at a condo project on the Upper West Side two weeks after its developer halted all work in response to the state-ordered ban on non-essential projects in March. The city’s Department of Buildings granted SJP Properties construction permits for the tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue for emergency work, as THE CITY first reported, much to the frustration of some local residents and officials.

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo temporarily banned all non-essential construction statewide as part of his New York “pause” executive order, which was extended recently until at least May 15. Emergency construction, which is described in the order as being “necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site,” can continue.

“The 200 Amsterdam Avenue location was approved for additional emergency work for the issues of potential safety and health concerns due to wind forces, damage to partially installed equipment, and water infiltration of the incomplete building envelope,” DOB said in an email, according to THE CITY. But officials say construction continued at 200 Amsterdam until April 9, nearly two weeks after Cuomo’s executive order.

The developer contacted the community about the restarting of construction through an email sent on April 22, which explained the work set to resume. This includes the exterior wall system, mechanical electrical room work, elevator work, and waterproofing work.

“We will be slowly ramping up work beginning with approximately 15 workers and moving by next week to approximately 45,” the email read, according to THE CITY. Plus, all workers at the site will be required to wear personal protective equipment and have their temperature taken by a medical professional.

On Friday, a group of officials sent a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio opposing the DOB’s decision to grant SJP construction permits. “If the work is actually still necessary for safety reasons, why does SJP have a plan to gradually increase its workforce to a total of 45 construction workers over the next week?” the pols, including Assembly Members  Linda Rosenthal and Richard Gottfried, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Sen. Brad Hoylman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal, wrote.

The elected officials are asking the city to revoke the permits related to construction at 200 Amsterdam. “SJP is no longer just skirting zoning regulations, they are actively putting construction workers, their families and New York City residents in harm’s way by prioritizing profits over people’s health, and the City is rubber-stamping these deplorable actions.”

The condo project has been the subject of controversy before. In February, a state judge revoked the tower’s building permits and ordered as many as 20 stories to be removed from the 55-story building, which topped out last year. The city appealed the decision, allowing work to continue.

[Via The City]


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