The developer behind a plan to turn the First Church of Christ, Scientist on 96th street and Central Park West into a condo building has withdrawn the proposal in the face of expected opposition from a city board, according to NY YIMBY.
The plan had faced tough opposition at the community board, which opposed the way that architects wanted to change the windows, among other things. The church has already been gutted inside, but its exterior is protected by landmarks rules. After several setbacks, the Landmarks Preservation Commission — whose opinion was binding, unlike the community board’s — gave the project the go-ahead.
Still, the developer needed special permissions from the Board of Standards and Appeals to override local zoning rules, given the difficulties of building out condos inside a 1903 church.
A source tells YIMBY that the developer, listed as 361 Central Park West LLC, withdrew the plan in the face of likely rejection by the Board of Standards and Appeals, which had to approve waivers necessary for the conversion. The process at the BSA started in late March 2015, after an already lengthy process at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
A lawyer for the Central Park West Neighbors Association told YIMBY the withdrawal is a victory: “Landmark buildings, especially churches, should never be converted to residential use. They are important public assets which help maintain our collective identity.”