Proposed 668-Foot Tower Gets a Green Light

A rendering of the proposed tower.

The city Department of Buildings lifted a hold on a controversial tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street, making it more likely the project will move ahead. If building permits are granted, it will be the tallest building on the Upper West Side.

Although elected officials and some neighbors oppose the project, and succeeded in stopping it for months, this was a significant win for the developer.

“On Tuesday, the department said it had received information addressing its concerns, though the submission did not involve structural changes to the building itself. With the audit wrapped up, the developers will need to refile for new permits, which they are likely to do as quickly as possible, especially since two elected officials have since joined in opposition to the plan,” Crain’s reported.

A public relations rep for the developer pledged that “200 Amsterdam will be contextual to the classic architecture of the Upper West Side. We look forward to delivering a world-class building, and working closely with the local neighborhood and community officials throughout the construction process.”

George Janes, who drafted the zoning appeal, tells us there are still options for opponents.

“Yes, there are still options to appeal the decision.  This is a step in a process that can extend for several months.  There still need to be decisions made on the exact way forward, but expect that this decision will be appealed.

The process first involves appealing the DOB decision directly to the DOB, which I expect to fail, but is a part of the process.

Then, any DOB decision can be appealed to the Board of Standards and Appeals, which is a NYC commission with oversight of DOB decisions.  They are independent from the DOB, so I am hopeful that the issue will get a fair hearing there.  If that appeal fails, then it needs to go before a court, which is a more difficult process.

Clearly, this is early in the part of the process, so things are still quite fluid, but I would expect an appeal within 15 days.”

Councilmember Helen Rosenthal reiterated her opposition, arguing that “the substantive concerns about the proposal’s bizarre, gerrymandered zoning have not been addressed.”

“I continue to believe that this project is out of scale, out of context, and runs counter to existing zoning regulations. I will continue to work with community groups to push that case, and will explore all available options to do so.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 95 comments | permalink
    1. JD says:

      Any affordable housing in this?

      • B.B. says:

        No, do not believe there will be any “affordable” component. Building is going up “as of right” meaning developers do not require zoning variance or anything else from the city that would trigger such a thing.

        Of course developers could turn around and seek a J-51 or whatever tax abatement, but that isn’t in the cards at the moment AFAIK.

    2. Nukleopatra says:

      Huge skyscrapers getting built in Manhattan. What a shocker.

    3. Sherman says:

      I think it looks pretty cool.

      However, there’s currently a tremendous amount of construction on the UWS. Around 60th Street on the water there are massive buildings going up.

      I’m hearing anecdotal evidence that developers are already having trouble filling the new buildings already constructed.

      I don’t see how all these new apartments will be sold or rented but let’s see.

      • Right There says:

        “I don’t see how all these new apartments will be sold or rented but let’s see.”

        There’s your affordable housing mechanism right there.

        • Iiari says:

          +1 to that comment. Let the market decide, not NIMBY’s…

          • dannyboy says:

            Market Worshiping?

            • Howard Freeman says:

              Anyone who’s played SimCity knows — seriously — that thoughtless hi-density means a greater need for municipal services, not least of which on the UWS would be schools. We already have overcrowding in the K-8 schools.

    4. joe says:

      I told everyone that this much needed building would go up.

    5. AC says:

      I called it months ago , , , secret behind the scenes meetings agreeing to a Hold to let feelings and emotions subside. Developers + money = Power, enough to sway elections. City Hall caves in.

      Been living in the UWS for over 50 years and worked in City Government. Nothing has changed since the days of Tammany Hall.

      • Bill says:

        So true.Remember when Trump was to rebuild the 72nd st subway station in return for all that construction on the river, including widening the platform? Been there lately?
        The money involved in these projects is enormous and eclipses everything.

    6. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “Although elected officials…

      Elected Official (def.) – noun: One who will say anything to remain in office. see “Vote Whore”

      and SOME neighbors
      i.e. “Not-In-My-Back-Yard”-ers (see “NIMBY”) oppose the project, …. this was a significant win for the developer.


      GO, 200 AMSTERDAM !!

    7. Josh says:

      Welcome to the Upper West Side new neighbors!

    8. YouWish says:

      they’ll add affordable housing and it’ll be approved

    9. Fantastic. Will enjoy watching this go up and meeting my new neighbors.

    10. Wendy says:

      Disgustingly too tall, & , UGLY. Maybe I could sketch a prettier , shorter apt. building.

    11. jeremy says:

      Why is out council-member so gung-ho to thwart/stall/delay/alter this project? And did our council-member poll/take a survey and/or do any due diligence as to the opinions of the voters in her district? I have not seen one.

    12. Paul RL says:

      I still think it looks lopsided, but I am looking forward to an invitation to the Salt Room!

    13. Jeff says:

      The cheering of this development is mind-boggling. It will have like 110 total units, virtually all for the mega-wealthy who already have plenty of options. And thousands of locals will lose sunlight in and around Verdi Square.

      Overall, it’s wildly irresponsible, like a huge middle finger from the developers. Scale this sucker back, I say.

      • alwayssunnyinverdisquare says:

        You do realize the sun actually moves throughout the day, not to mention the angle changes throughout the seasons so to suggest that sooooo many people will lose much coveted sunlight is a misleading argument against tall buildings. Maybe if you live directly next door but THOUSANDS to be affected??? Come on!

        • Phoebe says:

          Well, they have a playground next to the public school that will now be in the shade,

          • Jay says:

            Umm.. the school (and it’s playground) are to the west of the development. So, unless you are talking about very early in morning you would be incorrect about the shadows from this development.

    14. APW says:

      Happy to see this building is moving forward! We have a dire shortage of housing in NYC that makes places like the Upper West Side totally unaffordable to most people.

    15. robert says:

      As I have said on this site before
      Mean that based on the zoning laws and the air rights they have as well allow them to build it as per their plans. There is no hidden anything her the law is the law. If you don’t like it change it. Don’t fund raise off saying you will stop this one building. Don’t let the local self appointed community leaders that always say march, protest and sue the evil real-estate folks. Now they spent large amounts of your $$$ and lost again! Now there is no hope of getting any concession for the builder. Maybe the UWS should think about trying to work with a developer to get something rather than waste money, get peoples hopes up only to have them dashed.

    16. nycityny says:

      Rosenthal was basically re-elected in the primary a couple of weeks ago and now this is approved. Is the timing a coincidence? Like someone else said, Tammany Hall hasn’t changed.

      • Carlos says:

        As someone above noted, one person cannot stop a development of this size. Much as one person cannot take credit for everything good that happens in a neighborhood (though Wymore sure tried to). So please stop whining and blaming Helen Rosenthal and try doing something constructive to solve what you perceive to be the problem.

        • nycityny says:

          Boy, you certainly read a lot into what I said. I didn’t whine or say there was a problem with the building. I just noted the timing of the approval. Rosenthal definitely can’t stop the building but getting it delayed until after the election doesn’t seem improbable.

          That said, I don’t like that it’s being built as I live near it. I watched (and listened to) the Riverside South buildings from 66-72 Sts being erected. Living near a construction site isn’t fun but there’s not much I can or care to do about it.

      • Lincoln Sq resident of 40 years says:

        You have that correct.

    17. Jimbo says:

      Is it an 80/20???

    18. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      This is good news to me. I support the creation of additional housing supply in NYC.

    19. Peter Black says:

      Its a very nice looking building with interesting architecture that reminds me of the great step back buildings of the 1930’s. Also whats wrong with tall buildings. I think they look very great and add to the skyline.

      • Pedestrian says:

        When there is no sun, you’ll regret the proliferation of these awful buildings but hey who needs light and air! Only humans and they don’t matter in NYC unless their developers or billionaires.

        • Jay says:

          There will be plenty of sunshine for everyone after this building is built. The building is tall and skinny, so any shadow produced will only take a few minutes to pass.

          Shadows are a fact of life in Manhattan; somehow people have adapted.

        • Smithe says:

          Right. Because the sun never moves throughout the day or changes angles with the seasons. Once the building is up we are all cast in infinite darkness.

          • dannyboy says:

            Sounds like you don’t care much about there being light, air, breezes, etc.

            But why deny the light, air, and breezes to others who do care?

    20. UWS Craig says:

      Fortunately the people who will reside in this building are either the mega-rich or foreign nationals, neither of whom use public schools, and therefore our beloved PS 199 will not be exposed to their children, who I am sure are spoiled and would be a bad influence in the classroom.

      • Smithe says:

        Generalize much?

      • Rob G. says:

        Don’t worry UWS Craig, I am sure your new neighbors wouldn’t want to expose their kids to yours if they’ve inherited any of your classist vitriol toward people you don’t even know yet.

      • Get Yourself an Education says:

        PS 199 won’t be exposed to “their children”?

        Sounds just like the arguments the parents of PS 199 children made against integration, but this time toward their even wealthier counterparts instead of poor/brown people…

        • David says:

          Tenants will be paying so much to live in this building that they will have no money left for private school tuition, so they will have no choice but to send their kids to public school.

    21. B.B. says:

      While one does not like to pile on; however it must be said, “Told You So”.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        BB: it ain’t over til the fat lady sings. you have underestimated the opponents of this monstrosity before. it’s not good taste to do an end-zone dance before the actual touchdown.

        it seems like you are trying to argue that it is an exercise in futility to oppose mega-development and continued upscaling on the UWS. it is hard, indeed, but the people who delayed this project showed it can be done. i wouldn’t bet against them.

        • B.B. says:

          What “mega-development”?

          That area of Lincoln Square already has several tall buildings as it should since that is what the zoning allows.

          Below 69th is more an extension of mid-town (just as it is on the east side), than UWS. The rich heartland of that area largely starts along Amsterdam, Columbus, and Broadway above 72nd.

          Indeed 72nd and Broadway looks like who did it and ran because of zoning and historical district restrictions.

          As have stated previously nearly 75% of the UWS falls under some sort of landmark, historical or whatever designation. This includes the “brownstone” zoning for blocks off CPW and really large parts of UWS.

          So all and all this isn’t nor can there be “mega development” on the UWS as neither land or zoning allow.

        • GG says:

          It’s not hard to ‘oppose’, Bruce. It’s hard to WIN!! They didn’t not win here and they never will.

          As usual, BB is correct. We could all learn a lot from his factual and informative comments. Not the political charged and wishful thinking of the ultra-left around here.

          By the way, the only thing this delay caused is an increase in expenses that gets passed on to….guess who?:)

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            BB is a naked shill for the real estate barons, as his comments above objecting to using the term “mega-development” regarding this building and others shows.

            It is true that he is intelligent and many of his comments informative. However, they usually have a certain “spin” to them.

            i noted above that it was hard to effectively oppose mega-development. But i also noted that the pro-developer crowd mocked the initial efforts to oppose this building, which were partially successful. while the odds are against our citizen-heroes like George Janes and Olivia Fried, it’s a little premature to count them out. I’m rooting for them, as are, i believe, most West Siders.

            Finally, GG said:

            “By the way, the only thing this delay caused is an increase in expenses that gets passed on to….guess who?:)”

            it’s fascinating how “market laws” and “market forces” go away when it serves the arguments of the pro-real estate crowd.

            According to your beloved “market laws”, there is a market rate for apartments in this building, be it for sale or rental. The fact that the delay cost the developers money has no impact on what the market will bear and thus on their eventual revenue. So the costs caused by this delay cannot so easily be “passed along.” The delay came out of the developers pockets.

            • Jay says:

              Nice ad-hominem attacks there, bruce. That usually happens when you can’t have a discussion based on facts.

              Do you deny that there are already buildings in the area above 600 feet tall?

              Do you deny that there are apartment complexes in the area that consist of more residences?

              It’s funny that you think that the costs of frivolous lawsuits and such are not passed down to the people who rent and buy these apartments. But, the perverse logic NIMBYs use to justify their actions is always funny to me.

            • GG says:

              Oh, I didn’t realize that a victory was just running up costs for the developers and the future residents. Sounds more like economic terrorism than activism.

              Well, then I guess congratulations are in order. Except that wasn’t what I meant about who ends up paying.

              Haven’t you figured out yet who really ends up paying in the end…after all the costs are passed down? and I mean all the way down…to you and me and ultimately the people that actually need help from the city. Not people that just don’t want a new building in their neighborhood or that just don’t like rich and successful people.

              And I won’t even discuss all the local workers (they are working class, right?) that haven’t been able to bring home a paycheck for the last two months. And not just the construction workers. But you want to help the 99% right?

    22. JD says:

      I think you all should find a way to volunteer your time to help others versus spending the amount of time post opinions on WSR.

    23. sami says:

      Guess someone was paid off

    24. Lincoln Sq Resident says:

      Where were our local representatives over a year ago when the plan for 200 Amsterdam was 1st announced. Their involvement and outrage began only after local residents, in particular Mrs. Freund, spoke out. They should accept some of the blame. They don’t care about Lincoln Square, which has been clear for quite some time.

      • Sean says:

        I think you might mean Lincoln Towers. That’s a complex. Lincoln Square is the area. Sixty years ago that complex was the new development and it ruled the roost like forever. That isn’t the case anymore.

    25. William Sharfman says:

      Kill this monstrosity!

    26. Pedestrian says:

      The City and the DOB allowed this developer to break the rules! Typical of the DeBlasio administration.

    27. Bruce Bernstein says:

      can people please stop repeating the myth that this monstrosity has anything to do with “increasing neighborhood housing stock”? it only will increase housing stock for multi-millionaires, who have no problem finding housing, and very marginally at that. it will have zero influence on affordable housing stock for working class, middle class, poor and retired people. further, it will likely continue to drive up existing housing prices and encourage further displacement.

      what is the cheerleading for this building about? that cannot represent the majority of the neighborhood, and especially the people who live in its proximity.

      if there is such support in the neighborhood for more ultra-rich housing, then a candidate should run on that platform. “We don’t have enough housing for millionaires!” but there has been no such candidate, because he or she would get a tiny sliver of votes.

      the people using their own time and money to oppose this building are working for the vast majority of UWSers. these are serious, accomplished people who don’t want to see developers and developments exclusively for the rich run roughshod over the rest of us.

      • Jay says:

        “the people using their own time and money to oppose this building are working for the vast majority of UWSers”

        No they are not. They are doing this for themselves. They are NIMBYs, nothing more. Most people on the UWS welcome new people and change.

        The ‘opposition’ is about 100 people who pine for the misguided feeling that things used to be better on the UWS in the 1960s.

      • Cato says:

        Well said, Bruce.

      • Josh says:

        You’re absolutely right that if this isn’t built the multi millionaires will have no problem finding housing, because they will take it from someone less rich. The rich need housing too and if we don’t build it they will displace an existing resident. The idea that if we don’t build new high end housing than the rich people will just disappear is a laughable fantasy. You’re right that everyone who has run for office here has opposed new development – and look at what that’s done to the price of housing. Nobody has run on a pro-housing platform yet but I can’t wait until someone does.

      • js says:

        Bruce’s comment is completely on target

      • Phoebe says:

        Right you are.

      • Jen says:

        Very well presented. Completely agree.

      • Burtnor says:

        Thank you, Bruce. Well said and important. I heard one of the Mayor’s deputies say on WNYC recently that tall buildings increase density and economic activity and that is good for everyone. Hogwash! Overcrowded subway platforms and schools (if they even live in those expensive apts), higher rents and restaurant prices, and ugly architecture blotting out the sun are not good for anyone.

    28. unhappy Lincoln Sq resident says:

      Some of the blame for this project goes to the elected representatives who have all been part of local politics for many years, going back well before their current offices. Where were they more than a year ago when the plans 1st went public? Truth is some have little concern for Lincoln Square issues, which has been evident for many years. Also, until there was a public form and they had a platform to appear publicly, most if not all were silent on the project. It’s time for new representation. Too bad this was all made public after the Primary.

      • PBJTime says:

        There’s a Democrat running as an independent on the ballot in November who is staunchly opposed to this and has been actually working on haulting this project. Check him out

    29. Wendy says:

      Too tall for 69th Street. These bldgs are turning the lower part of the UWS into Midtown Upper -Disgraceful. Hopefully we can fight this and ge them to scale it down.

      • B.B. says:

        Again am saying this for God and the world to hear; Lincoln Square are was intentionally zoned to allow for greater density/height. Indeed if the zoning changes had not been made Lincoln Towers along with a few other buildings never would have happened.

        From 57th Street to 69th there are already a number of tall buildings along Broadway, Columbus and Amsterdam. If people have beefs with the zoning then they need to go back to the urban renewal plan that torn down the “blighted” old Lincoln Square area and created Lincoln Center and so forth.

    30. Adam Cherson says:

      Why do we need such mega buildings? There’s plenty of units to be built in 30 story towers. Is this what being progressive on the west side means? Where are our so called progressive leaders? Cuomo? De Blasio? Nadler? Rosenthal? Etc.? Quality of life (environmental and density)is important. Make some building codes that limit the height to what’s here already. Has anyone wondered what the amount of noise and particulate pollution from construction is going to do to the health and peace of mind of the people who live here?

    31. Laurie Spear says:

      How can coop owners support the work of George Janes?

    32. Elinor Fine says:

      The Real Estate developers OWN THE CITY. Politicians need their moneyAs a result changing zoning laws (i.e.-the sale of air rights) is impossible. Council people say they don’t take money from developers but they vote in favor of their projects(i.e. the mid-town re-development plan)

      Look at the bright side–with global warming , we’ll be protected because there will no longer be a sunny side of the street

      • Sherman says:

        Actually these new buildings are very energy efficient and have a much smaller carbon footprint than the older, decrepit buildings that tend to use a lot of energy and pollute more.

    33. Thank you for diligent reporting as developers take ove the sky. The shadows in the neighborhood will be monumental. This certainly will effect our quality of life. And, watch out for the Extell tower coming to 66th street. What are they hiding? Why all the secrecy? Our council person is sgainst this? The constituents are against it! What is democratic about the developers having all the power?

    34. BJK says:

      I live across the street from where this building will be and am very happy it is moving forward. It is a luxury building and will attract a good caliber of people, no doubt. How can that be bad?

    35. Mia says:

      It is a myth that there isn’t enough housing. I have now lived in two buildings that leave apartments empty for months rather than lower rents to market rate. They are owned by corporations who can absorb the loss until they find a resident (many foreigners from Europe and China or people with corporate subsidies). Our last management company didn’t even negotiate leads and tried to raise our rent 8%. What really doesn’t exist is housing for the middle class-the people who have to pay market rate because they don’t qualify for subsidies or or any rent-abatement programs.

    36. naro says:

      Upper West Side is so terrible, overcrowded, filled with the homeless and the mentally impaired in the streets. Why would ultra-rich want to live in that location—unless they want to launder money coming from overseas.

    37. PBJTime says:

      Anyone read this comment section and think, “Gee I had no idea so many of my friends and neighbors were fans of luxury mega towers”?

      Looks like the some proponents are in full scale Russian social media mode.

      • GG says:

        Sorry, but this comment made me laugh.:)

        Is that what we are going to do now?? Everyone that disagrees is a Russian plant now??

        And newsflash….lots and lots of rich, successful urban professionals live on the UWS now. Yes, families with kids in private schools, ambitious young I-bankers, lawyers, medical professionals, Advertising executives, etc.

        It is not a Russian plot…unlike the 2016 election. I predict the Manafort indictment comes down this week…not a minute too soon. There is no way a bunch of these guys, including Don Jr and Jared, are NOT going to jail.:)

    38. michelle says:

      Does this mean we can get a decent supermarket option in the upper 60s?

    39. Kathleen Chadwick says:

      This is so out of context for the neighborhood. Stop this atrocity.

    40. Anni says:

      Please fight this hideous greed monument.

    41. Edith says:

      I feel rather hopeless. There is no stopping Big development. :(. Look what will be happening with park surrounding Museum of Nat Hist for their expansion. Gov & bizz in bed. No stopping them

    42. K McGee says:

      “…bizarre, gerrymandered zoning”?…tell us more.