Nearing pinnacle, disputed 668-foot Upper West Side tower gets city board approval
Rendering of 200 Amsterdam Avenue via SJP Properties/ Elkus Manfredi
In a race to the top of sorts, developers of the 668-foot residential tower rising at 200 Amsterdam Avenue got the green light to keep climbing, Curbed reports. On Tuesday the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals upheld its initial approval for the tower, which has been embroiled in a heated zoning lot dispute. The board approved the project last year, but in March the state Supreme Court overruled the city’s decision, ordering the board to re-evaluate the permit for the project led by developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan, who have already proceeded with construction at the 69th Street site. The tower is expected to top out this summer.
The controversial Upper West Side condo project has been challenged by community groups and elected officials because of its oddly-shaped, “gerrymandered”–according to opponents–lot. Opponents, including some neighborhood organizations, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Helen Rosenthal and State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, argue that the building extends beyond the building site, which is prohibited by the city’s zoning code.
Tuesday’s ruling in favor of the project for the second time sides with developers’ argument that the tower, currently already 40 stories high, is within its legal limits. SJP Properties said in a statement, “The zoning for 200 Amsterdam has been consistently interpreted for more than 40 years. Three completed buildings on the same block have the exact same zoning. While we’re pleased with today’s BSA decision, it’s unconscionable that opposition has continued for this long. This opposition campaign blatantly ignores the laws that govern real estate development in New York City, and wastes resources that would be better spent on helping those who really need it.”
Opponents see the ruling as a blow to advocates who have undertaken a lengthy legal battle to halt the project. Following the decision, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer tweeted “200 Amsterdam is an affront to the Zoning Resolution and I’m extremely disappointed that the BSA upheld their support for the project. The reluctance to follow the letter of the zoning is astounding, especially when the DOB has acknowledged that the zoning lot is problematic.”
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All renderings via SJP Properties/ Elkus Manfredi