15 West 96th Street

Architects SLCE have released designs for a building set to replace three pre-war townhouses on 96th street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The drawings, obtained by New York Yimby, show a building that will be about 22 floors, if you count the mega-penthouse on top.

As with other new Upper West Side developments, the apartments are likely to be enormous, with each one occupying a full floor, along with a duplex penthouse. There will be 16 condos, with an average size of about 3,000 square feet. The developer Sackman Enterprises is also planning to build some sort of “community facility” on the first five floors, although it’s not clear what that might be. Yimby indicates that the facility is there mostly to boost the overall height of the building so that the apartments will get better views

“A community facility will occupy the first five floors of the future 15 West 96th Street, with the residential portion rising after another amenity floor and a setback. (The undefined community facility space, which the zoning code allows as a bonus on top of the base residential floor area ratio, appears to be largely intended to boost the height of the apartments and improve their views.) Except for the duplex penthouse, each residence will take up an entire floor.”

The development would be on the North side of 96th, which is not protected by historic designation (the South side of the block is). Councilman Mark Levine has said he’d like to preserve the rowhouses that are on the spot, one of which was built in 1900, but he saw few options to stop the development, which is allowed “as of right.” Landmarks West has not responded to several requests for comment.

We first wrote about this development here.

15 west 96th

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. diane says:

      Ugly, ugly, ugly. Why can’t these developers do something DIFFERENT? CREATIVE?
      Why can’t they incorporate some of the townhouse design that they are destroying into the new building? The street level façade is the worst! Unimpressive, boring and criminal. Leave some inkling of our past, please.

    2. Barbara says:

      Don’t get your hopes up re community space. Expensive private schools count for “community”.

    3. Nathan says:

      I know it’s per regulation, but it would be nice if they could take the 5 floors of worthless “community space” and make them smaller market rate apartments that the middle class might actually afford. It seems developers only cater to the high and low ends as the high end is most profitable, and the low end is often required by regulation. If you make a good middle class salary you’re not poor enough to qualify for “affordable” housing, but not rich enough to afford anything beyond a studio.

      I’ll stop whining now. 🙂

    4. Paul RL says:

      Bleccchh, I agree with Diane. Awful facade. Especially at street level.

    5. lucette says:

      Very uninspiring They should leave the fronts of the row houses and build behind them. This has been done in many cases on est 79th street and in the Village. They also should not be permitted to go so high. Also some “kind” of community space should be spelled out before they are permitted to build at this height. All the ts and dots should be crossed before they are permitted to go ahead. For years no one wanted to live on the west side, now it is being destroyed by uninteresting architecture and apts that are out of reach for the working people that were and are the backbone of this community and WE ARE A COMMUNITY of caring individuals.

      • Lucette, the UWS (W76th near Riverside) was my first home in NYC in 1973. I was so completely embraced by the community that I felt right at home instantly, despite having hitch hiked directly from an Oregon commune. Later, the UWS brought me my first small-business success (at The Columbus Market) and brought me and my future wife together. I haven’t been home to see the old digs for a number of years now, and I’m worried that when I do, I won’t recognize the place.

      • DMH says:

        Well said, lucette!

    6. Architects giveth… and architects taketh away. And just remember… bad architecture is forever, or at least as long as you will be around to be annoyed by it.

    7. Fred says:

      Sackman Enterprises sucks. They are the worst management company ever and did nothing but run our building into the ground after 20 years of total neglect. The fact they are able to make money by building this building is embarrassing. NYC should ban them from all activities that line their greedy, dirty little pockets. Good luck to the fools that are going to live there. Word of wisdom for New Yorkers – don’t live in ANY building associated with Sackman.

    8. Lucien Desar says:

      Boring design and I bet they will all be priced in the uber-millions and constructed out of cheap drywall between the apartments. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was an interesting design (we do live in a city that tears down and rebuilds) but those cliche balconies and white facade – it’s like a McCondo.

    9. Jean says:

      What happens to the windows on the side of the building next to this new monstrosity?

      • r silvergleid says:

        It looks like there will be a narrow setback separating the sides of the buildings. probably a solid brick wall view three feet away from the side windows

    10. webot says:

      I have asked before, why were these townhouse left out of the historic district, they are equal to the ones protected across the street. Do they not deserve the same respect?

      Again, how about building the tower behind the existing facades?
      The terraces are not needed and really are ugly at this point. The blank wall where no one will ever build is silly , a variance can be gotten to add windows on north side.

      This is far worse then the building proposed next to the Lucerne, but because its not landmarked there is no public input. Surely there should be some kind of “landmark light” where the owner is encouraged and rewarded with keeping the old and adapting to new use.

      as it stands its all black and white.

      Sackmans , the UWS made you rich. and Like Friedlands, you owe the community something in return – quality architecture and no destruction.

    11. webot says:

      Councilman Levine (and other elected officials) you can ask/demand that Landmarks calendar the buildings.

      At least lets have a debate that they are worthy to continue as part of our cityscape.

      • Nathan says:

        These townhouses are not particularly good examples nor are they particularly well-preserved. I’m fine with demolition.

    12. Janice says:

      You are taking down these beautiful buildings for something that looks like a parking garage. What a disgrace!

    13. David Hodgson says:

      is it meant to be an eyesore? or is it a design accident ?

    14. UWSEd says:

      One word: Lego

      • drg says:

        Just because a building is 100+ years old doesn’t make it a “landmark”. The row on the south side of 96th IS landmarked, likely below it is a relatively long stretch of intact buildings. The three on the north side have already been significantly altered from their origins, and likely have obsolete mechanicals that would cost more to renovate than build anew. I would also guess that these buildings are likely completely vacant, and have been for some time, making the “net” loss of housing at this time to be zero.

        If indeed these buildings are to be “preserved”, it would only make financial sense to remake them as single family townhouses, whose purchase price would justify renovation. I cant imagine rental property this small would be cost-effective (for the renovator). However, single family restoration would be out of the question on this busy, noisy street (unlike the extensive preservation on the smaller UWS streets….IN the landmark zone)

    15. ELJ says:

      I can’t imagine anything more relaxing than going out and sitting on my terrace overlooking 96th St. after a long day at work. Oh the glorious noise and fumes!

    16. Julia says:

      This is corruption at its best. DISGUSTING.

        • drg says:

          Why are these stories in the Times? How is this news?This is National Enquirer exposé type material. Despite how unpleasant ones occupation or character is, isnt there a presumption of PRIVACY in this country. How would any of us like our financial, real estate and personal details highlighted in a 2 full page NYTimes spread? Does the fact that the Times considers these people “criminals” justify that?

          The use of LLCs to purchase real estate is TOTALLY legal at this time (as is trolling public records to ferret out these details). I dont get it, other than the prurient interests of reporters and the readers they cater to.

          • marie says:

            Laundering dirty (or likely dirty) money through falsely cheap (taxes held too low usually because of ridiculous developer abatements that don’t help the actual middle class) apartments isn’t news? huh. You are not guaranteed privacy when you buy property. You can try to hide your identity through LLC and other shell corporation shenanigans but any investigator is welcome to try to track down through legal/paperwork trails who is behind these LLCs. Your comment sounds exactly like what I imagine Goring saying to the Swiss “but I thought my deposits of stolen assets were private!!!” lol

            • drg says:

              Apartments that cost 20-100 million dont sound “falsely cheap” to me…thats a HUGE amount of transfer tax that NYC gets.

              If you feel that its legitimate “news” that alleged “money launderers” have their financial dealings exposed to the public, fine. However, why doesnt the NYTimes expose organized crime figures or drug cartel figures? How about the middle east oil billionaires and officials that fund the madrassas and training camps that bred the 9/11 gang.

              Maybe the Times knows that those “hard” targets would do a little more than turn a blind eye to that kind of publicity.

              btw, your ad hominem comparison of my comment to a made up Goring quote would seem to indicate your inability to address my point on its merits alone

          • Sassy lou says:

            No..there is no privacy. IRS…Especially when large sums of money is involved…or even small struggling businesses or even when the poor involved. Once the police find out you are poor..they have no problem abusing your civil and human rights.

   privacy for you.

            • drg says:

              I absolutely agree…no privacy, anywhere, anytime.
              I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of the media (NYTimes) who on one hand stand up for civil liberties and rights, while on the other hand trash them (as it relates to THEIR chosen “justifiably evil” targets) to sell papers.

    17. Sassy Lou says:

      ..and this will provide how much housing for the people that actually WORK in the area???


      Let’s see..I have enough money to buy a 3000 sq ft condo… why would I do that when I can buy a much larger house with my own driveway, my own garage, my own pool, my own back yard… in a quiet area clean air and trees?


      Yet there are people who actually WORK for a living…making just enough to get buy and could save thousands of dollars a year just on commuting.

      This city has no sense of priorities for the people that actually make it go.

    18. Sassie Lou says:

      Frank Lloyd Wright is screaming from the grave “Damn Boxes!”

    19. Independent says:

      When discussing any matter involving real estate in Manhattan, a few points must be considered.

      1.) Special Factors That Characterize the Manhattan Real-Estate Market

      People who live and work here must compete over an extremely limited space with the wealthiest and most powerful people from all over the world. And many, if not most of these elites, hardly, if at all, actually live in the properties that they buy here. (From what I understand, a staggeringly high percentage of residential units in Manhattan are purchased as investment property. Many others may be used no more than a few days a year, if even that.)

      Can such a situation be considered a natural market?

      Aren’t local residents and employees absolutely essential to maintaining both the local as well as global infrastructure and economy (to say nothing of the character)? Can we afford to allow such people to be priced-out by elite investors and playboys, many, if not most, of whom are not even U.S. citizens?

      2.) Market Economics has its Limitations and Problems.

      “Hip-hop” thugs are paid lucrative sums of money for glorifying violence, hatred and use of women as sex slaves. Cops and firefighters who risk their lives every day to keep us safe are paid only modest salaries (that in many parts of the city are not even enough to get-by on, at least not with a family to support). Countless other individuals with real talents and abilities find themselves either unable to find work at all or having to settle for jobs that don’t even pay a basic, living-wage. (And many, including families with children, find themselves without even so much as a roof over their heads.)

      Whether in literature, film, music, or any other genre, lowbrow content, much of it created only to incite, titillate and indulge our basest instincts, almost invariably generates many times the revenue of wholesome content that benefits society or the human experience.

      Wall street gamblers are rewarded with billions for their predatory, reckless, destructive behavior.

      These are all examples of market economics at work, aren’t they? Of value as determined by market economics, no?

      Is this what we really want to be our ultimate arbiter and authority? Market economics?

      In an area as essential to human survival and welfare as housing and development?

      3.) Where will it all end?

      Will there not come a point when Manhattan will have become so overdeveloped and overcrowded that property values will go into decline?
      At that point, will the developers not have overplayed their hand?

      Not long ago, one of the regular posters here who seems to consistently support continued luxury development, mentioned that he had an affinity toward children. I wanted to ask him whether he had ever considered the effects upon children of the nearly-unbridled development that he apparently supports. Don’t children require a considerable amount of open-space where they can safely run free and play? Fresh air? Aren’t both resources already relatively scarce in Manhattan?

      And what about the many children whose parents simply cannot afford anything even close to the market rates that any of these new apartments being built go for? Does he have any ideas or proposals on how to deal with all of these citizens?

      I realize that these are complex and difficult problems– generally far more so than is acknowledged by those on either side of the polarization that exists. I do not purport to have the solutions nor even to have studied the matters in any real depth or breadth. I have simply presented concerns that cannot be ignored when discussing matters of Manhattan real estate.

    20. kgbUWS says:

      I feel so sorry for the neighbors that have to live through the demolition & construction of this project. There goes at least 2 years of relative peace and quiet and sanity. We have been dealing with a private townhouse demo and construction 5 houses away from our apt and it has robbed us of our right to enjoyment of our rental. Jackhammering all day, everyday 8:30-5. I can’t even BE in my own home. Very very hard to remain sane.
      We aren’t all fancy types and to assume all the neighbors will just be off in their second homes is annoying and presumptive.
      I wonder if any of the sweeping, awful, disruptive building/construction approvals & inspections that adversely affect our UWS neighborhoods had anything to do with the building department criminals arrested this week? Is anyone able to go in to see who approved this development (for example) and if they were arrested? Change is not always good and more and bigger is certainly not better.
      A similar huge project just started this week on our block at 8 W 70th. There goes the neighborhood.