The building housing the former home of Lincoln Square Synagogue on 69th street and Amsterdam Avenue is on the market for $400 million. And the building that replaces it could become the tallest structure in the entire neighborhood. The news was tucked into a story on new developments in Crain’s.
“Lastly, the owner of a property on the Upper West Side at 200 Amsterdam Ave. has put it on the block with an asking price of more than $400 million. Zoning would allow for the tallest building in the neighborhood, a 388,000-square-foot, 600-foot residential tower. CBRE is marketing the property and notes that the tower enjoys protected views of Central Park.”
The last we had heard, the synagogue had traded the site at 200 Amsterdam with a developer so that it could build its new synagogue just down the block. But now it appears that developer is putting it back on the market to take advantage of a ripe market for land sales.
Already we are hearing considerable anxiety from neighbors, over the prospect of such a tall tower on such a tiny footprint, and the possibility of more overcrowding at the already-oversubscribed PS 199.
Batya Lewton of Coalition for a Livable West Side sent out an email about the development, warning neighbors about the possible 600-foot height (the email had incorrectly said 60 feet because of a typo). She says the building could potentially rise even higher than 600 feet.
“As-of-right means no special permits are needed. No public review. Coalition believes it could be even taller through various City zoning bonuses.”
Below is the synagogue’s current building.
Finally some good news. It’s bashert that the Aire will finally have found an attractive, wealthy partner among all those schlemiel Lincoln Towers buildings.
Hi Jeremy and Richard. I am another Deb in Lincoln Towers. Let me guess – you live in one of those shiny rental buildings (like Trump or Aire) that have caused overcrowding at P.S. 199 and you thumb your nose at us in ugly Lincoln Towers (along with 199 was built). Maybe you secretly resent even us because prices have doubled since those rentals went up and you missed the boat. You’ll never have the 400k 30% down payment you’ll need you need to buy a Lincoln Towers apartment, much less a pre-war or condo building on the UWS -or in the trendier downtown neighborhoods you prefer. Or maybe you have so much money that you can afford to buy so much more than a Lincoln Towers apartment and you cannot stand that it reeks of the middle class.
Wake up! The problems in the city extend beyond issues of aesthetics and what’s hot/not. It’s all about opportunity. And the hundreds of families that have moved into Lincoln Towers in the past decade are not so “schlemiel ”. Yes, our buildings have ugly facades – but we look past that for more spacious apartments (love my huge closets and big bedrooms!), financial stability, and the opportunity to send our kids to P.S. 199, a National Blue Ribbon and top 16 public elementary school (that’s in the entire state).
These gigantic buildings, however aesthetically pleasing they may be, impact opportunities for all when they don’t share in their responsibility to mitigate negative impacts on school overcrowding. For sure some of the residents of that new tower will get into P.S. 199 while longstanding residents of surrounding buildings will be turned away.
Finally, what benefit, beyond aesthetics do these buildings provide? The abatements the city throws at these developers will guarantee that the owners of 6 million dollar apartments will pay less taxes for their apartments over the next 20 years than even Lincoln Tower studio owners. So not only will we not have a school built at its base, but we won’t even have the tax base necessary to expand school seats in other available spaces (closed Catholic Schools, huge spaces like 80 WEA when they come available). We are only acting schlemiel when we turn a blind eye to what this unsustainable development represents.
DEB you are right on the money….
Goody. I’m really looking forward to more years of construction noise on that block.
Good riddance to that trash-ridden, rat-infested, graffitied Soviet block-style eyesore. A construction site would be an improvement.
Gretchen and Denton –
My assumption is 1) you don’t live nearby so haven’t grown tired of the constant construction of luxury apts in the area OR about having your very limited light source blocked in even more 2) you don’t have kids so have no concerns about the fact that children in the zone already aren’t even getting into PS 199 (and that the DOE has expressed no interest in using this space for a school – either as is or by building something new in place of the admittedly ugly building).
There are a lot of people with concerns about this. Try to think about the larger community perhaps.
Yeah. Let’s knock it down and get cracking.
Looks like one of Paul Rudolph’s atrocities.
Build a new building. Fine. BUT – REQUIRE THAT THEY BUILD A NEW ELEMENTARY AND/OR MIDDLE SCHOOL in the building as well.
I agree. If they build a school and set aside some apartments for affordable housing, this could be a win win for the neighborhood. What is there now is definitely a Brutalist eyesore
Totally agree – Affordable Housing with a Poor Door and gym and pool that those people can’t use. That’s what we need. While we are at it, how about we make the developer put in an ice rink and petting zoo as well. Also require them to lease any retail space to mom and pop stores selling things like organic, animal friendly yarn and such.
Let’s just pile on the requests.
As a resident of Lincoln Towers whose terrace and view overlook that site and whose parking space is directly behind the old synagogue, I am not at all pleased by this. Mind you, I despise that old synagogue and the rat problem there was terrible. However is a 600 ft. building really necessary in an already overcrowded neighborhood? By the way, all those “schlemiel Lincoln Towers Buildings” contain some of the most spacious and beautiful apartments in the city.
Spacious, yes. Those halls are wide enough to drive a car through. Beautiful? Ehhhh – not so much, neither inside nor out
lol Jeremy as a resident myself I have to mostly agree. The buildings are hideous. However the layouts are generous, still, no matter what you do in renovations (and mine is renovated) you still have 8 foot ceilings. But this is why the apts are relatively cheap.
Hey Richard –
Are you aware of what is going on at PS 199? Do you care? I guess not? In case your ignorance prevents you from understanding, let’s just be clear that this isn’t exactly an unfounded, good-olde-days gripe, this is a real situation that the city isn’t dealing with. If the zoned school isn’t big enough for the zone and there is a soon-to-be empty lot next to said school, why is asking for part of it to BE a school such a stretch?
That’s just what was proposed ON the PS 199 site not very long ago – except the first move there was to first knock the school down altogether. This is a far better opportunity. IF the DOE would just show one iota of interest (and a developer was willing to listen) they could building the millionth “lux” building there (so the developers get rich) but also include a school in the design (so the neighborhood would benefit).
Not the same as a yarn store, buddy.
A great topic for those with children, a non-topic for those without
Mochblock: Only if you don’t care about the larger community, of which the kids are a part. If you live in this neighborhood, that’s the reality. If you don’t like it, relocate to Chelsea or the Financial District or somewhere else less child-centric. The school situation does and should impact us all. And, if you own within the 199 zone, it’s making your apt more valuable by the minute. So – not exactly a “non-issue.”
what can the community do to try and stop this building?
All the P.S. 199 commenters: the school should have its footprint expanded into Lincoln Towers (eliminating some of the the outmoded parking area and dinky fenced playground) or built vertically (incorporated and financed by a larger real estate development.
Having a Metro North station on Riverside Boulevard would help alleviate the eventual overcrowded of city public infrastructure.
LSS was monumental in its time and will forever be memorialized in books about post modern Synagogue architecture and UWS history!
The city allows this happen to can’t blame the seller or the buyer here. De Blassio would be the one to question regarding zoning laws and the shape of NYC. $400M seems like an awful lot of money though. I would have thought you could buy a turn-key building for that amount. Guess that means nothing other than $2M studios and $8M three bed rooms will go up.
Regarding the comment about the “schlemiel Lincoln Towers buildings” (and hopefully Jeremy was referring to his opinion of the architecture rather than an inappropriate insult about the LT residents…)
My grandmother related that when Lincoln Towers first opened, there was an orchestra because so many musicians lived there. There was a neighborly feel from the beginning, a middle class and intellectual demographic of musicians, artists, teachers, professors etc. Residents helped plant/garden the flowers (now there is “luxury landscaping”) Its Project Open to assist elderly residents was one of the first of its kind.
LT was and hopefully still is an authentic NYC community.
In recent months,neighbors have gotten together to help shop and prepare meals for neighbors recovering from surgery and illnesses. Neighbors discuss opera in the laundry room. An LT resident has organized a Latin class. Etc.
And although like other 1960s era buildings, the LT architecture is basically non-descript, the trees, grass and playgrounds within the LT complex and the park area are terrific!
(BTW as the West Side has become much more affluent, LT is changing as well. More finance and media etc people moving in, with let’s say “luxury” preferences as opposed to “community”)
And about the Aire’s architecture, it is worth noting that some refer to the Aire as the Darth Vader/Death Star building.
And I’d assume that the transient Aire residents are not cooking for any ill neighbors, but hopefully I am wrong about that?
Using a standard of 9.5 feet per floor, a 600-foot building would contain about 63 stories. Of course, it can vary. This would qualify the building to be near the high end of skyscrapers. What a frightening prospect for the Lincoln Center area in particular and for the Upper West Side in general. If it goes through it will encourage other developers to drool with anticipation at the dollars they can make while they wreck life in our UWS residential neighborhoods. If this project can’t be stopped, then stricter zoning needs to be passed for the immediate future. Will the Community Boards, the local politicians and the City Council be in favor of stricter zoning to limit the height of buildings? It was done in San Francisco after the last earthquake. The NYC real estate sector is so powerful that it feels like we’ll be steamrollered flat yet again.