Rooftop additions are the hot new accessory in Upper West Side real estate. The Apthorp on 79th street and Broadway may be the most famous building looking to add more apartments on the roof, but it’s certainly not the only one. Here are a few of the buildings where owners have been trying to add apartments on the roof.

The Evelyn

The owners of the seven-story building at 101 West 78th street on the corner of Columbus Avenue are attempting to add two more stories. They presented their plans at a Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting in July. The building went up in 1886 and the owners say a two-story addition was actually approved in the 1890’s, according to a publication called City Land, which covered the LPC meeting.

“The proposed addition would be clad in zinc, while a brick bulkhead would rise an additional story. Glass railings would surround the accessible rooftop areas. Portions of the addition would be visible from multiple viewpoints from public thoroughfares.”

But Community Board 7 recommended denial, and the design was criticized by Councilwoman Gale Brewer and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

“An Evelyn tenant said the building would be ‘desecrated’ by the addition, and likened the design to “a rooftop bus terminal.” Numerous other area residents decried the addition’s bulk and visibility, and other neighbors said the addition would negatively affect the reach of light and air to their dwellings.”

The preservation commission urged the applicants to go back to the drawing board.

The Chatsworth

The historic building at 340-344 West 72nd street sold last year for $150 million and now the new owner HFZ Capital is proposing extensive renovations, including a rooftop addition (half the building is rent-stabilized, so the developer is clearly looking for other ways to make money).

The Chatsworth, at Riverside Drive, was built in 1904 and got landmark designation in 1984. The plan goes before Community Board 7’s preservation committee on Thursday night at 6:30. The meeting is at community board offices, on the second floor of 250 west 87th street (just West of Broadway). Update, 10/10: The West End Preservation Society tells us the CB7 Chatsworth hearing has been postponed.

Opponents are already mobilizing, airing concerns about the dust and pollution that construction would create. The developer could be in for a tussle. The residents at the Chatsworth once sued Donald Trump over the possibility that Riverside South would block their views, Curbed notes.

The Forum

The condo building at 54 West 74th street that houses Pioneer supermarket is also looking to add a rooftop addition. The owners of “The Forum” recently put up orange netting to show the landmarks commission the visual impact of the addition. A meeting was scheduled at the LPC to discuss the addition last month, but it was postponed. The building was built in 1902-03. Thanks to Geoff for the tip.

The Apthorp

At a meeting last week the community board recommended that the Apthorp’s rooftop addition be denied. Harriet Flehinger attended one of the committee meetings and sent us this dispatch:

“More than 100 people crowded into the space to protest, mostly current residents of the Apthorp and people living in buildings directly facing it. The committee was very even-handed and allowed everyone to speak. In the end, the committee agreed that some infusion of capital to the sponsors was required to provide funding for all the work which needs to be done on the building, but that they would reject the current proposal as too large and bulky and not in keeping with the feel of the landmark building. They left it open for the sponsors to come back with a new plan, saying they were not totally opposed to something being built there.”

The LPC has the final say over whether it will be approved. They were supposed to discuss the Apthorp on Tuesday, but that discussion is expected to be postponed. The rendering of the proposed addition is below, with the before picture on top and the after picture at the bottom:

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 8 comments | permalink
    1. dcortex says:

      The Belnord added their ‘penthouse’ level in the 1960’s.
      Cheap contracting led to a Sheet Metal clad shed construction that hardly matched the rest of the structure.
      These cabins (with low ceilings unlike the rest of the building) are now being renovated-new windows and sealing this ‘temporary type’ structure- because the original construction was so lacking.

    2. Jeff says:

      Not having seen the rendering, can’t pass judgment, but zinc cladding atop the Evelyn certainly sounds like it would resemble a bus terminal, as described. These developers face enough trouble adding anything, not sure why they would make things harder for themselves by slapping something contemporary on 19th century buildings.

    3. JW says:

      This is clearly a trend. It is currently happening above two contiguous buildings off the southeast corner of 82nd and Amsterdam, and a block away at a former post office building now used by Crunch gym.

    4. BILL says:


    5. julie says:

      Why does the UWS have scaffolding on every block that stays there for decades.
      Extremely unsightfull, and considering the overcrowding on the sidewalks, they should be made to fix it, take it down, or sell the building!

    6. DLKD says:

      I’ll oppose the Chatsworth addition solely because the sleazebag new owner refused to renew my lease – or any leases – in order to clear out the building for renovations. Ten years of paying market rent, not controlled rent or stabilized rent, and this guy comes along, buys the building and tosses everyone out. Welcome to the neighborhood Ziel Feldman, now go to hell.

      • WestSider says:

        you can blame the seller who demanded (and got) a ridiculous unsustainable price for the building.

    7. Pedestrian says:

      Roof top additions are another way for greedy owners to make more money by desecrating beautiful landmarked buildings. They usually claim is that they NEED the roof top addition to make “ends” meet but then they should not have paid an exorbitant price for the building in the first place. Of course this argument is a lot of hot air but it seems to find a sympathetic hearing with the LPC since Mayor Bloomberg made it clear that land marking, zoning, land use regulations and planning mean nothing when someone wants to MAKE MONEY!

      If you don’t like roof top additions of the type and kind discussed in this article write to Robert Tierney, Chairman of the LPC. You should also write to the mayor candidates and tell them to appoint LPC members who actually believe in Landmark Preservation.