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The beige building depicted in the middle of the rendering above could be constructed on West 79th street.

A five-story building on West 79th street between Amsterdam and Broadway could be demolished and replaced with a 16-story apartment building if the owners get permission from the Landmark Preservation Commission. The brick building currently on the site (see photo at bottom) has residential and commercial tenants, including Tower Cleaners and A Select Few antiques.

A tipster tells us the residents of the building have already been told they have 90 days to vacate. According to Streeteasy, the building currently appears to be filled with rental apartments that go for about $2,000 for a studio to $3,700 for a two-bedroom. It was sold in February.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.49.58 PMThe building on the site was once part of a series of rowhouses, as depicted in the photo at left. But it was altered in the 1970’s and is now called Carlton House, according to the landmarks application made by the developer (posted below).

The location is part of the Upper West Side – Central Park West Historic District, which was designated in 1990. The building sits next to the Hotel Lucerne, a landmarked hotel built in in 1904 (learn more about the Lucerne here). Nice Matin restaurant is on the ground floor of the Lucerne.

The new building would block the West-facing windows of the hotel, which could be a sticking point, Landmark West noted. Morris Adjmi is the listed architect.

The application is set to be discussed in a public hearing at the Community Board 7 landmarks committee on July 10 at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of 250 West 87th street. According to the presentation below, the Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting is scheduled to be held on July 22.

This is one of four buildings set to be demolished soon and replaced with luxury housing in a four-block radius, including two on West 77th street and one on West 80th and Broadway.

The developer, Anbau Enterprises, did not respond to a voice message.

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207 W 79th Street LPC Submission

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 33 comments | permalink
    1. MaryJo Farling says:

      Sure, why not? It’s only one more “old” building. Let’s just give the go-ahead to every developer and tear down all of what makes the UWS unique. Greed, greed, greed. The middle class is so unimportant, after all.

      • webot says:

        1. MaryJo – not sure how they all got confused- landmarking, greed and building more housing, but fyi, more housing would actually help the middle-class. The lack of housing in this City is what is driving up prices.

        2. West Side Rag – your headline is misleading – these “landmarks where destroyed in the 1970s when their facades where ripped off and replaced with that hideous brown mess was built. Yes this is a historic district , but the existing abortion that remains is not worthy of protection. Sadly the originals are long gone.

        3. The new plans is not very good. those terraces also look like bad 70s building. I know they can come with something that evokes the historic nature of the block, in mid rise form.

        4. Focus on the unprotected townhouses on the UWS, like the north side of 96th street – landmarking ends on South side. Stillman is planning to demolish two townhouses there.

        • Paul RL says:

          Good points, Webot. However, to your point #4, the area around 96th Street is so dreadful that even the preservationist at heart in me is happy to see some new market-rate construction go up, even in place of those two lovely townhouses.

        • Jeff says:

          I’ll second the comment about the balconies – really dreadful as shown above. Fix those and not sure I can object to the project, although I’d hope that the tenants being displaced are fairly compensated.

      • diane says:

        I can’t agree with MaryJo more.

    2. Rebecca Elise says:

      Utterly disappointing. Hope this doesn’t happen.

    3. oui says:

      It’s a pretty ugly building. However, when will the city do something about enhancing the appearance of the streets and sidewalks… get the scaffolding that’s on every block down. Build toilets for the millions of dogs on the UWS ..the smell of urine especially in the summer is suffocating. The UWS is falling apart in every respect and no one seems to give a damn.

    4. jill says:

      who is selling out the west side.

    5. Ethan says:

      We hoped this sort of thing would phase out when Mayor Bill D. replaced Dear Leader Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg, but I guess it’s just business as usual as far as commercial real estate development goes. Oh well.

    6. Tom Holmes says:

      Without knowing the condition of current building, which appears quite unremarkable – and not knowing the details of the building planned to replace it, it is hard to pass judgment on whether this new building would be “good” for the UWS or not. I think we all need to get involved, attend the meeting and hope the right thing is done here.

    7. Eric says:

      Setting aside the Carlton House whose facade, the photographs clearly show, lacks the charm of the one it replaced, I wonder which date on the calendar should be considered the one on which we freeze our conception of what the upper west side is. Everybody wants their neighborhood to remain as they fondly remember it.

      Had this blog existed when the beloved Lucerne was built, I am sure it would have featured at least some comments containing dire predictions of the loss of the character of the neighborhood as it was in 1904.

      Once upon a time this area was farmland and I am sure there were many in the day who cherished that as a welcome haven from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

      CHANGE is the ESSENTIAL nature of cities. Urban environments do not, by definition, remain static. This is what makes them exciting for us to live in. The inevitability that something new will emerge in our environment. Of course we can all mourn the loss of a cherished grocery or the proliferation of soulless bank branches, but everything we love about this neighborhood was new and shocking once. With age comes change (and sadly loss) but we cannot and should not try to freeze the world so it stays the way we like it. That kind of control is an illusion anyway, and if anyone needs that kind of control then cities might just not be the place for them. Sell the coop and buy a nice spread in Montana where the sky will stay the same forever and ever.

      • Jeremy says:

        Totally agree. This building reminds me of the eyesore that was torn down to build 535 West End. Yes, those new 535 WEA apartments are insanely expensive, but from a “which building would I rather have in my neighborhood” perspective, it’s a great example of a positive result of situations like this.

      • Christine says:

        Tell that to European countries like Italy, France, Ireland and such who change and thrive even though their architecture has been around for thousands of years.

    8. Eric says:

      Apologies for the gilding the lily but a look at a photo from the 19th century at shows our neighborhood before those (what some may have thought) “awful” landlords with their high-rise apartments ruined it, bringing all that traffic, noise, and high rents with in.

    9. Susan says:

      Ugh, I live on 80th Street – directly behind where this new building would go. There goes my natural light! 🙁

      • Heather says:

        Same here, Susan! So sad to lose the little natural light we get in our apartment on West 80th Street.

    10. Chris says:

      Perhaps I am in the minority but I think the existing building is bland, drab and completely uninteresting, so great if someone can put something newer, with more housing stock. This is the way of things in New York City.

    11. MaryJo Farling says:

      Eric, anyone who knows me knows I am adaptable and embrace positive change. But turning a city into a place for the uber wealthy and uber poor and eradicating the middle class is not positive change.

      • Eric says:

        I do not disagree. And I do agree that along with change the quality that keeps urban environments vibrant is diversity … of goals, of background, of story, and of income. (Riding the subway is the great leveler in this town).

        I also do believe that some places ARE worth designating as a landmark (especially interiors … not just facades) although I confess the Carlton House doesn’t light my fire.

        Although I am not a landlord or developer I do think we should all bear in mind that these people ARE the ones with skin in the game. By and large, they are the owners of the neighborhood … we just live here. Many do quite well I am sure but I suspect that there are property owners who have spent years trying to stay above water. As any coop board will tell you, running an aging pre-war building is NOT cheap.

        • Michael says:

          This building should not be built. A 16 story building next to the Landmarked Lucerne is just wrong. They have kicked out the tenants – they have been given 90 day eviction notices. Some change is fine but a 16 story building in this block of 79th street just does not belong. I would even welcome and 8 to 10 story building but not this.

    12. Erica says:

      I had a negative response when reading the headline and the text. But looking at the building that will be replaced, it does not seem to have retained it’s own architectural merit. It was stripped (and made rather ugly) long ago.

      To me, the bigger concerns are the displacement of the people, and the size and shape of the building, including it’s impact on the Lucerne – as well as the fact that it is rather ugly itself. This bland, boxy style of building is not an ornament anywhere, and I think we will regret it in years to come if we have too many of these buildings, much as I think many of us now regret the 1960s buildings that line the streets of places like DC.

    13. webot says:

      Also, why the need for blank lot line wall, when the buildings next door ARE landmarked and the air rights never used?

      better for the building and better for all if no blank wall.

    14. McBride says:

      The “you-know-who’s” run the show in NYC. They are driven by greed and disdain those who are different. Get used to it.

    15. Sassy Lou says:

      Yeah..knock this building that looks like it was built in the decline era of construction 1958-1995….just as long as there is AFFORDABLE HOUSING replaced in the spot – I”m good with it!!!!!

      Landmark preservation should be for those buildings and structures that were made with excellent construction and design…and for historical value. Not sure much history happened to this eye sore….and this is coming from someone who wan’ts things to NOT CHANGE!!!!

      • Michael says:

        Sassy Lou — There will be NO affordable housing in this building. Just luxury housing.

    16. Mathew says:

      I don’t think this building should be built. It is out if character for this block and I don’t think it will have affordable housing. The area is landmarked for reason. Once this starts god only knows whats next.

    17. Marge says:

      This kind of Change is NOT essential to the city. A city that lets developers build real estate for the wealthy and kicks out lower and middle class tenants is not a city or community I’m proud of.

      • Jeremy says:

        Honest question here, Marge – how would you have “middle class” housing built? What’s the mechanism for that beyond just building more market rate?

        • Tim says:

          High-priced new condos are not alleviating the middle class squeeze. They’re being purchased for investment, often by people who don’t intend to live in them. People are buying New York real estate instead of investing in financial products or alternative hard assets.

          Normally, building more high-end units might open up less desirable housing for the middle class. But because so much housing is purchased for investment (often to flip down the road) or for pied a terre properties, these condos don’t change the supply-demand dynamic in real estate.

          This was covered in NY mag this week and has been written about extensively elsewhere (including by people in the real estate industry).

          • Jeremy says:

            Right – that’s the problem, but what’s the solution? Particularly if we’re looking for architecturally “significant” development in our neighborhood?

            (BTW, should be noted that Friedland has been building rental, not upscale and vacant investment property)

            • Tim says:

              Andau, which is developing this project, is known for building condos. The design of this building seems fine, particularly for a side street. Not every building will be beautiful and certainly nothing built in the past sixty years can compare with the great old towers.

              There are several ways to expand middle class housing, none of them perfect. Zoning changes allowing larger buildings in certain areas, partnerships between the government and developers to build new housing, and new programs similar to Mitchell-Lama might all be options. Current UWS development is not really expanding the market.

    18. Marco says:

      The real estate development companies in New York City have immense power and gained more power under Mayor Bloomberg. Thousands of low income and middle class tenants have been evicted from their homes. Freideland Properties may build rental units but they build luxury rental units. They get huge tax breaks because they do make some of their new apartments so called “affordable housing”. This is a done deal. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has given the green light to everyone of Freideland Properites and Anbau Enterprises developments.