Here’s an update about three Upper West Side development projects we’ve written about in the past.
The building on the corner of 80th street and Broadway has been getting demolished for weeks now, but not by the wrecking ball. Workers have gradually dismantled the structure, mostly from the top down, and a nearby resident has been sending us photos of the process. He says the process is now nearly complete, with an excavator tearing apart the ground floor, and should be all done by January 15.
The developer, Friedland Properties, has not responded to our inquiries about the project. When we broke the story that the property would be redeveloped, we posted a rendering of the proposed building, but that rendering has since been taken down. New York YIMBY reported that a building permit said the structure would be 14 stories, instead of the 20 we had expected. But if the spot allows for 20, it’s hard to imagine they’d under-build in a hot real estate market like this one.
15-19 West 96th Street
As we reported late last month, a developer is planning to put up a 22-story building on the North side of 96th street between Columbus and CPW. The rowhouses it will replace were built in 1900 and 1926, according to Streeteasy, but they’re not landmarked. We have reached out to Landmarks West multiple times and have gotten no response about whether they plan to fight the demolition.
Councilman Mark Levine told us “I’m really quite dismayed by the prospect that these three beautiful historical structures could be demolished.” He notes that the development is “as-of-right,” meaning the developers don’t need to go through a lengthy public process to get them approved. He says he’s “exploring options,” but they appear to be limited. Without action by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to at least put the buildings on their calendar, there’s no clear mechanism to delay the demolition.
Levine also thinks a 22-story building would be out of scale with the rest of the block, and that the neighborhood does not need more luxury apartments replacing middle-class housing — “It’s out of reach for everyone in the neighborhood…A little piece of the West Side is dying.”
720 West End Avenue
The battle over the Williams Residences, senior housing on 95th street and West End Avenue, continues, with the next court date set for January 23, according to City Council member Helen Rosenthal’s office. The building is owned by the Salvation Army, which wants to sell it to a developer for $108 million and move the seniors living there to a new building planned for East Harlem. Many seniors, however, have opposed the plan.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sided against the Salvation Army in a motion, noting that “many residents feel betrayed and claim that The Salvation Army assured them that they could live out the rest of their lives at 720 West End Avenue. Indeed, some say that they never would have given up their prior place of residence, and moved to the Williams Residences in the first place, were it not for these assurances.”
Helen Rosenthal has set up a page about the fight; it includes information about the residents and why they’re fighting the move. The average age of people living in the building is over 80 years old, she notes.