Community proponents declared victory on Thursday after a New York state judge ordered developers to remove 20 floors from a planned 52-story luxury residential skyscraper on Upper West Side in Manhattan.
In consultation with community groups, Justice W. Franc Perry of the Supreme Court of the State of New York ordered the developers of 200 Amsterdam Avenue to comply with zoning rules.
The judge agreed with two non-profit groups – the Municipal Art Society and the Commission for Environmentally Friendly Development – who jointly filed a lawsuit against the developers.
The image above shows an artist’s representation of the top of 200 Amsterdam, a luxury residential skyscraper currently under construction on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
The building can be seen above in this undated file photo while it is under construction. A judge in the state of New York ordered the developers Thursday to remove 20 floors
The judge chose community activists who sued and accused the developers of using illegal gerrymandering tactics to violate local zoning laws. The building can be seen in the above undated file photo
“Frankly, it is groundbreaking,” wrote Chuck Weinstock, the lawyer representing the two non-profit organizations who filed the lawsuit, in an email from West Side Rag.
“No judge has ever ordered a developer to tear down such a building based on a lawsuit from a private party, not the city itself.”
The lawsuit was brought jointly in 2017 by two local non-profit organizations – the Municipal Art Society and the Commission for Environmentally Friendly Development. Olive Freud (center), the president of CFESD, can be seen above with Richard Gottfriend (left), also from CFESD, and lawyer Richard Emery (right)
The image above shows how the project developers – SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America – used rrymandered plots to bypass the city’s zoning laws, allowing it to build more stories than legally allowed
A MAS spokesperson said West Side Rag: ‘Justice Perry ruled in our favor in the Article 78 process of the Municipal Art Society of New York and the Commission for Environmentally Friendly Development, which invalidated the building’s landed destination plot and ordered the owners of 200 Amsterdam to be around 20 floors of the 668-foot tower to bring it into line with the destination resolution. “
The 200 Amsterdam project, which is in the final phase of construction near the corner of 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, is a joint venture of SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America.
Lawyers for the developers say they plan to appeal the ruling.
The 670ft building, with its planned 112 apartment buildings, focuses on catering to rich Manhattanites.
A stone’s throw from Lincoln Center and a few blocks from Central Park, it offers panoramic views of the Hudson River, Midtown Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building, Hudson Yards and the Vessel, World Trade Center, One Vanderbilt , the Metropolitan Art Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and the George Washington Bridge.
The building’s facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center with a yoga room, a sauna room, a conservatory, a virtual golf room, a children’s playroom and a living lounge. A representation of the end product can be seen above
The building’s facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center with a yoga room, a sauna room, a conservatory, a virtual golf room, a children’s playroom and a living lounge.
In 2017, Olive Freud, a community activist who heads CFESD, heard about the developers’ plans for the building.
She investigated the case and found that the developers used a practice called gerrymandering to claim an “exceptionally large and irregular destination plot” achieved through a “subdivision of tax plots.”
The claimants argued that the developers had illegally implemented the practice to obtain permits to build more floors than is permitted for this specific destination region.
The two non-profit organizations went to court after their request to stop the construction was rejected by the Department of Buildings of New York City.
Last year, the New York State Supreme Court ruled for non-profit organizations and ordered the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to review the case.
Despite the court order, the developers continued to build the project, which was completed almost quickly.
By continuing the construction, the developers took the risk of completing the project in the hope that they would win on appeal.
After the court ordered the BSA to revisit the issue last year, the developers issued a statement saying: “200 Amsterdam fully complies with all zoning laws, as previously confirmed by both the DOB and the BSA, the two city agencies with interpret primary responsibility for NYC’s destination codes.
“The opposition has resorted to exerting political pressure while overseeing the last 40 years of the destination history, with different buildings built and occupied under exactly the same destination standards
“We are convinced that the New York City agencies will continue to apply the law fairly and respect the rights of everyone without having to change the rules retroactively after a project has already been started.
“We continue to make progress in construction and look forward to delivering a building that will greatly benefit the neighborhood and New York City.
“This project is expected to generate more than $ 100 million in tax revenues over the next 10 years that will be used for much needed infrastructure and service upgrades for the benefit of the entire city, while creating a significant number of jobs in New York City. ”