Back in 2012, Megalith Capital Management and Urban Realty Partners bought two neighboring DUMBO sites from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than $30 million. They then tapped Aufgang Architects to design both warehouse conversions: a landmarked former Brillo factory at 200 Water Street was transformed into 15 boutique condos; 181 Front Street into a 105-unit rental. Twenty percent of apartments in the latter development are reserved as affordable, and as of tomorrow, New Yorkers earning 60 percent of the area median income can apply for these 21 units, which range from $895/month one-bedrooms to $1,247/month three-bedrooms.
Rendering of 36 West 66th Street via Extell (L); Approved zoning diagram via NYC DOB (R)
Though Extell is best known for sky-high mega-developments like One57, the Central Park Tower, and One Manhattan Square, they’ve also been taking on some slightly smaller residential projects, gobbling up swaths of real estate in the upper Midtown area. Their latest venture is a partnership with Megalith Capital Management to build a new condo tower near Central Park West. Located at 36 West 66th Street, the 292-foot, mid-block building will replace three small office buildings and the synagogue of Congregation Habonim. The latter will be incorporated into the new design, for which CityRealty has uncovered the first rendering and updated details.
The Upper West Side has proven to be one of the most difficult areas to build, with a growing amount of land area contained in historic districts and much of the remainder constrained by tight zoning regulations. Over the years, its protective residents have been involved in the city’s most memorable development battles: fighting tooth and nail to reduce the scale of the Riverside South master plan; lessen shadows caused by the redevelopment of the New York Coliseum site (Time Warner Center); and more recently spearheading the downzoning of a 51-block swath of Broadway due to grievances caused by Extell’s Ariel East and West towers.
For the most part, the defensive strategy has allowed the neighborhood to retain much of its pre-war charms and human-scaled side streets. However, along its southern edge, where the buildings around Lincoln Center scale upwards to Midtown, zoning allowances are more generous. Two as-of-right towers are sure to ruffle some preservationists’ feathers and are poised to be the neighborhood’s biggest yet.