A proposal to build a skinny 14-story building in a tiny lot on 75th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway was rejected by the Upper West Side community board on Tuesday night after local residents stood up to denounce it. The vote was nearly unanimous. The proposed building is the skinny one in the center above. It would be just 25-feet wide.
“It is not welcome in our neighborhood,” said celebrity NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan, who lives in a neighboring building and spoke out against the sliver building. Kiernan said the building would increase congestion in the neighborhood, block the light and otherwise stand out from the neighborhood — not to mention decrease the property value of apartments in his building by a lot. Residents also have said that the current building on the site should not be destroyed because it has historical value: it was a stable in the 19th Century, one of the last two remaining buildings from the Upper West Side’s historic stable row.
The property now has a two-story building with a tanning salon on the ground floor as well as rental apartments. In May, it was sold for $5 million to an unnamed buyer, listed as “The Philippe at W75 St NY, LLC” in city records.
The current zoning allows a 71-foot building to be built there as a right, but the developer wants a variance (or special permission) to make the building 141 feet tall. Caroline Harris, a lawyer representing the developer, said they would lose money if the building is only seven floors high. Harris said that other nearby buildings are taller than the proposed building, and the community’s concerns are overblown: “We are not seeking a building taller than our neighbors.”
But the community opposition proved too strong, and the developer lost. The proposal will go before the city’s Board of Standards & Appeals.
This isn’t the only controversial “sliver” building in the neighborhood. Residents also successfully fought a similar building at 330 West 86th Street. With space scarce on the Upper West Side, developers often want to build higher buildings on tiny lots to get the most out of their investment.