Court rules against the 668-foot tower already rising at 200 Amsterdam Avenue

March 15, 2019

Rendering of 200 Amsterdam Avenue via SJP Properties/ Elkus Manfredi

A state Supreme Court ruling on Thursday overruled the city’s decision to allow a permit for 200 Amsterdam Avenue, the controversial Upper West Side condo project that has been challenged by community groups and elected officials because of its oddly-shaped, gerrymandered lot. As Crain’s reports, the Board of Standards and Appeals, which approved the project last year, has been ordered to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate the permit for the project led by developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan, who have already started construction at the 69th Street site.

SJP Properties, Mitsui Fudosan, 200 Amsterdam Avenue, Elkus Manfredi, Lincoln Square, Upper West Side tower

The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development—the plaintiffs in the matter—had challenged the Department of Buildings’ approval of the project on the grounds that developers assembled an illegal zoning lot with the intent of building a larger tower. The zoning lot was created through a form of gerrymandering, by piecing together development rights from neighboring properties, which the committee claimed went against a city zoning resolution that requires the combination of whole tax lots.

SJP Properties, Mitsui Fudosan, 200 Amsterdam Avenue, Elkus Manfredi, Lincoln Square, Upper West Side tower

“This is a major victory,” said Richard Emery, the attorney for the Municipal Art Society and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development. “A development site where a developer wants to build can’t just get around the zoning codes.”

As Crain’s notes, SJP and Mitsui didn’t piece together the site themselves, they bought the developed site from its previous owner in 2015. They are likely to appeal the court’s decision.

“We’re going to pursue a temporary restraining order to stop the development,” Emery said. “And we’re going to go to the Dept. of Buildings to revoke their building permits. That’s the next fight.” He added that the goal of the plaintiffs is to limit the tower to roughly its current size, about 17 stories. The developers were planning a 51-story tower.

As 6sqft previously reported, the 668-foot tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue was slated to become the neighborhood’s tallest, surpassing the current title-holder, Trump International, by more than 80 feet, until Extell increased the height of their proposed tower at 50 West 66th Street to 775 feet tall. That tower also faced opposition and had its permit pulled by a court ruling earlier this year.

“They had to know that this was a gerrymandered site, so they should have been aware of this reality that it could get overturned,” Emery said.

“The development team for 200 Amsterdam has followed the law completely and continues to make construction progress,” said a spokesman for SJP. “200 Amsterdam’s zoning permits were exhaustively reviewed by both the Department of Buildings and the BSA, the two city agencies with the primary responsibility for interpreting NYC’s zoning codes. Following a thorough analysis and public testimony, both agencies determined that the building fully conforms with the city’s zoning laws.”

[Via Crain’s]


All renderings via SJP Properties/ Elkus Manfredi

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