Bid to block Amsterdam tower fails

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Board of Standards and Appeals rules in favor of 200 Amsterdam developer; opponents likely to turn to courts in fight to block tower


  • Work is in progress on a proposed 668-foot tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue, near 69th Street. If completed, the development would be taller than any existing building on the Upper West Side. Photo: Michael Garofalo

200 Amsterdam Avenue is, for now, one step closer to being the loftiest address on the Upper West Side, following the failure of a local effort to block the controversial condo project through the city’s zoning appeals process.

The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals voted today to uphold the Department of Buildings’ approval of the 668-foot tall tower, ruling against the project’s opponents, including local land use groups and elected officials, who claimed that the building’s large, irregularly shaped zoning lot was improperly formed.

If completed, 200 Amsterdam would be taller than any building in Manhattan north of 59th Street (though it could be surpassed by another project nearby, at 50 West 66th Street, which is slated to stand 100 feet taller and is also the target of local opposition efforts).

The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, the local land use advocacy group that filed the appeal, will now likely look to continue its fight to block the tower in the judicial system. The group is engaged in a pending lawsuit against the building’s developer.

Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side in the City Council and supported efforts to block the tower, said in an email that she is “very disappointed, but not deterred, by the BSA’s decision.”

“We will review the details of the decision and consider our next steps, including further legal action and potential policy reforms,” Rosenthal said. “In recent weeks, we have been joined by a growing number of partners in pushing back against gerrymandered zoning lots and supporting a more transparent and predictable land use process.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for developer SJP Properties said the firm is “pleased that the BSA has upheld the DOB’s decision to grant the building permit for 200 Amsterdam.” “Throughout an exhaustive DOB audit and subsequent BSA review, we have consistently demonstrated that 200 Amsterdam was meticulously designed in strict accordance to the NYC zoning code,” the spokesperson said. “The BSA’s decision today is further validation that this building fully conforms with all requirements. We remain focused on making continued progress on construction to deliver this exceptional building to the market, and look forward to launching sales for 200 Amsterdam’s new residences this fall.”

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