Contentious Upper West Side skyscraper hits roadblock after legal challenge

The tower has attracted controvery since it was announced in 2016.

The zoning behind 200 Amsterdam Avenue will be re-examined by
the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals

One of the Upper West Side’s forthcoming tallest towers may be
stopped short after a court ruled this week against an earlier
decision that signed off on the seemingly unconventional means by
which the site’s developers amassed the zoning needed to
construct a nearly 670-foot building.

A State Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to vacate and annul

a prior ruling
made last July by the Board of Standards and
Appeals that said the project at 200 Amsterdam Avenue at West 69th
Street was compliant with existing zoning laws. Thursday’s ruling
will require the BSA to re-evaluate the tower with a new method
that Crain’s
“appears to disallow the method that the developers used
to justify its extraordinary size.”

The project has been fraught from the start, with local
opponents including City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the
Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, and the Municipal
Arts Society, the latter of which helped galvanize the latest
ruling after filing a request for the court to nullify the BSA’s
ruling last October.

After the project was announced in 2016, those opponents made
short work of trying to stop the skyscraper from rising,
filing building challenges
that the developers abused zoning rules. Much of the
criticism against the tower and developer SJP Properties and Mitsui
Fudosan remains the same.

The development team, of course, maintains that it has followed
the law completely. In a statement, the companies say they
respectfully disagree with the judge’s ruling. “200
Amsterdam’s zoning permits were exhaustively reviewed by both the
Department of Buildings and the BSA, the two city agencies with the
primary responsibility for interpreting NYC’s zoning codes,”
the statement reads in part.

The tower currently stands at 17 of a proposed 51 stories, and
could see a reduced height if the developers are not allowed to use
all of the air rights that have been acquired to create the

“This decision strikes a blow at developers’ creative
manipulation of loopholes in the Zoning Resolution and is a win for
all New York City neighborhoods,” said Olive Freud, President of
the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development.

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Contentious Upper West Side skyscraper hits roadblock after legal challenge