Following a setback earlier this summer, two civic groups have mounted a second legal challenge to stop a luxury high-rise project that they say was illegally approved by the city.
The Municipal Art Society of New York and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development are seeking to ask a state Supreme Court judge to examine once again whether the city handled the permit decision for 200 Amsterdam in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner.
Developed by SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan, the 670-foot tall condo project on 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue has provoked outrage from residents and elected officials since its approval in 2017. Opponents have mainly objected to its proposed height, which would make it the tallest building on the West Side north of 61st Street.
In their complaint filed last week, the groups argued that 200 Amsterdam would “fundamentally transform” the neighborhood by casting shadows, creating crowding on the sidewalks and stress on the infrastructure.
The two groups first sued last year, arguing that the city had approved the air rights by relying on an illegal assemblage of thinly connected lots.
A judge ultimately ruled in their favor. As part of his decision in March, state Supreme Court Justice W. Franc Perry ordered the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals to re-evaluate the way the permit was issued.
In June, the BSA upheld its decision for the second time.
Under the latest lawsuit, Judge Perry can elect to once again send the matter back to the BSA or annul the permit. Annulling the permit would involve razing the building, which is nearly complete. In recent memory, there has been only one case of a developer being ordered by a court to demolish portions of a completed project.
The developers said they expect to top out next month and launch sales in the fall.
In a statement, a spokesperson for SJP Properties called both challenges “baseless.”
“It’s unconscionable that NIMBYs continue to spend extraordinary funds and drain city and state resources in order to fight this as-of-right development, while only serving narrow interests,” she added.
UPDATE: A prior version mischaracterized the Municipal Art Society of New York and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development. They are city-wide groups.