The city has upheld a developer’s plan to build a contested 670-foot-tall luxury condo tower on the Upper West Side despite a court ruling that determined the permit was wrongly issued and should be re-evaluated.
Under the decision reached Tuesday morning by the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), the developers of 200 Amsterdam can complete the residential building on 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue as planned. The building is more than three-quarters of the way built. Developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan said construction on the 52-story building is expected to top out this summer.
Elected officials immediately criticized the decision.
“200 Amsterdam is an affront to the Zoning Resolution and I am extremely disappointed that the BSA voted to uphold their support for the project,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in a statement. “The reluctance to follow the letter of the zoning is astounding, especially when the DOB has acknowledged that the zoning lot is problematic.”
City Council member Helen Rosenthal called the BSA ruling “incomprehensible” and its decision process “completely non-transparent.”
In March, following a lawsuit filed by two community groups, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the city erred in issuing the permit and that it must send the plans at 200 Amsterdam Avenue back for another review by the BSA. Opponents argued that the project is too tall for the neighborhood and relied on an illegal assemblage of air rights.
Despite community efforts to halt the project, construction proceeded even after the court decision, which did not order a temporary injunction.
However, in their own statement on Tuesday, the developers said that the decision affirmed the project’s legal zoning status. “While we’re pleased with today’s BSA decision, it’s unconscionable that opposition has continued for this long. NIMBY’s, backed by special interest groups, continue to drain the resources of the DOB and BSA, as well as New York taxpayers," the statement read.
Olive Freud, president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, one of the groups which filed the lawsuit, said they planned to file an appeal in New York State Appellate Court.
Freud lamented the crop of increasingly taller buildings on the Upper West Side. "The city's gone wild," she said.