Construction Begins on Controversial UWS Tower at 69th Street as Opponents Consider New Tactics

Construction machines at work at 200 Amsterdam Avenue.

Developers of a 668-foot tall apartment tower on 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue that was delayed by a zoning challenge have begun construction after receiving permits from the Department of Buildings. Permits were granted on September 27, the day after the department lifted a hold on the project following a zoning challenge filed by neighborhood groups.

Photo by Sunny Mindel.

Neighborhood groups are now looking to fight the project by appealing to another city board, and hoping to once again put the brakes on construction. Preservationist group Landmark West is planning to appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals, and has “secured legal representation.”

“This is going to be a long, and undoubtedly expensive battle, but an essential one for the quality of life and character of our neighborhood,” the group wrote in an email to supporters.

Olive Freud, president of the nonprofit Committee for Sound Environmental Development, is also considering ways to continue the fight, telling us in an email that “We will do everything possible to stop construction of this 668 foot monster.”

The Board of Standards and Appeals is “an independent body that has oversight of DOB’s interpretation of the Zoning Resolution, according to George Janes, an urban planner who has worked with Freud. “The appeal filing is due to the BSA by October 27th.”

One lane of traffic on Amsterdam was blocked off. Photo by Ray.

Developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America will work closely with the community as they proceed with construction, a spokesperson for SJP wrote in an email to West Side Rag.

“The building – designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects with interiors by Cetra Ruddy — will be 52 stories tall and comprise 112 condominium residences and more than 20,000 square feet of lifestyle amenities. 200 Amsterdam‘s facade will feature Alabama limestone and sculpted stainless steel panels, with an elegant profile that sets back as it reaches its top, culminating in a signature crown. Surrounding the building will be lush landscaping to enhance the entrance and streetscape. The development team looks forward to delivering this world-class building and working closely with the local neighborhood and community officials throughout the construction process.”

Top photo by a tipster who wished to remain anonymous.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 43 comments | permalink
    1. 69th Street Resident says:

      New York Real Estate Developers run this town and run roughshod over it. Who knows if someday one of them might even become President and run roughshod over the country and even the world? Stranger things have happened.

      • ts says:

        Maybe some people think he’s MAGA.

      • Prodeveloper says:

        Sorry but I don’t blame developers who run private businesses for a profit albeit with questionable tactics. I blame the NYC city officials (elected and appointed) who allow unethical and said questionable transactions to take place all for their own personal gain. Those are the real people at fault and we should be outraged!

      • uwsmom says:

        LOL 69th Street Resident! Spot on.

    2. Veronica says:

      GREAT JOB MEL. All the campaign literature I received from you mentioned how you STOPPED this project. I’m so glad I voted for you. PLEASE DON’T RUN AGAIN.

    3. Reg Lincoln says:

      Reasonable Upper West Siders (neighbors and PS 199 families) welcome proportionate development, but this planned building is twice the height of its neighboring high rises and violates the zoning laws with its gerrymandered air/development rights spider-webbing throughout all of Lincoln Towers.
      The law — and proportionality — are on the side of the neighborhood, and these efforts to have a reasonable, legal building will prevail.
      The local elected officials and Community Board 7 have to back up their words with actions!

      • Jay says:

        The proposed building is only slightly higher than already built buildings in the neighborhood. 3 Lincoln Center and Hawthorne Park are each 600 feet tall. So, that’s only 10% taller. Hardly disproportionate…

      • Josh says:

        145 West 67th Street – 49 stories
        171 West 65th Street – 60 stories
        220 Riverside Boulevard – 49 stories
        101 West 67th Street – 46 stories
        200 Amsterdam Avenue – 52 stories
        200 Riverside Boulevard – 46 stories
        150 Amsterdam Avenue – 42 stories
        180 Riverside Boulevard – 40 stories
        201 West 70th Street – 42 stories

    4. Jane West says:

      What is local City Council Member HELEN ROSENTHAL doing to prevent this building, beyond press releases?

      How is COMMUNITY BOARD 7 and its Land Use Committee helping achieve a legal, proportionate outcome? CB7 Chairperson ROBERTA SEMER, we are eager to hear from you — ??

    5. df says:

      actually, two lanes of traffic are blocked off. This is going to cause serious problems in an already congested segment of Amsterdam.

    6. Sherman says:

      Part of the excitement of living in NYC is the ever changing landscape.

      I believe this building is a great addition to the neighborhood.

    7. Allan says:

      Honestly not trying to troll, can someone please explain why people are opposed to this project?

      • Jay says:

        You’re not trolling. Who knows why they are opposed… mainly I assume it’s because they hate change.

      • Josh says:

        There are a lot of wealthy, well connected property owners in the neighborhood. They are trying to use all the levers of local government to prevent new competition from moving into the neighborhood.

      • W 67th St says:

        Because it is very tall, and will block light / views.

    8. Jay says:

      Give it up folks. All you are doing is delaying the inevitable.

      • Jen says:

        That’s what was said during slavery. And colonialism, etc., etc….
        I guess people like you are afraid to go against he existing system, no matter how wrong it is.

        • Jay says:

          Wow… that’s quite a comparison you came up with. Equating building a new building to slavery is that what the Uws NIMBYs are doing now?

        • Matt says:

          Take a breath, and maybe rethink whether it’s ever appropriate to draw parallels between idea of a tall building going up and slavery.

        • Jen says:

          You missed the point or just trying to divert from it. No comparison between slavery and a tall building. Stating the fact that the existing system is not always right but always powerful and some people like yourself never fight against the power.

          • Jay says:

            Laughable. The “injustice” you seek to stop is a building that has a couple more floors than the one 500 feet away. If you are expecting normal people to gather their pitchforks for that, then you’ll be waiting quite awhile.

    9. Jeff says:

      Man that’s some shameless spin from the developer. I don’t think many people would describe a 668-foot-tall building as being a mere 52 stories.

      Also, the idea that they’re going to be “working closely with the local neighborhood and community officials” is simply a lie. They’re trying to build this sucker asap, simple as that.

      Glad to see people still fighting to get this project dialed back.

    10. GG says:

      And here we go again…all the NIMBYs, YIMBYs, BANANAS all show up and bicker about this project.

      Look, I’m a bit of a control freak myself but you folks need to just get over it. That building is going up. Focus your attention on something of substance in your own lives instead of sticking your noses into others affairs. Just my advice. Take a deep breath and keep it moving.

      I mean, the Yankees won!! so at least we have that going for us…right?

      • ScooterStan says:

        THANK YOU, GG, for you are totally right.

        GO, 200 Amsterdam !!!

        Go, Yankees !!!

        And Go AWAY, all you NIMBY’s, cranks, self-appointed guardians of the UWS, and haters-of-everything new.

    11. jeremy says:

      How about our city council fix the homeless problem and stop wasting time on things like this. There are too many “urban campers”.

    12. nycityny says:

      My apartment faces the Hudson and I watched the Riverside South buildings go up and they went up very quickly. This new building will be erected in the time it takes to fix an escalator in the subway (slow for an escalator; fast for a building).

      Building the foundation will create deafening noise and I don’t envy those who live in 170 WEA. And I don’t know how the kids at PS199 will be able to learn with the background sound. It will be LOUD.

    13. Every housing unit that is prevented creates upward pressure on housing prices. You may not like it the simple laws of supply/demand, but they exist nonetheless. You may curse the laws of gravity as you plummet, yet you splat just the same.

      • Seize & Resist says:

        I am in favor of and support the construction of this condo tower, and similar projects.

        But if the notion is that construction of these multi-million dollar luxury condos will prevent “upward pressure” on housing prices, and by implication will help create “affordable housing”, that is nonsensical and has been rebutted here clearly and effectively many times.

        Please cease and desist with your fallacious grasp of economics. Market segmentation is not your friend.

    14. Jim says:

      It will be refreshing every morning to look down on the peasants of the upper west side from my 50 million dollar apartment

      • letthemeatcake says:

        You must mean the homeless since an UWS peasant’s rent doesn’t start at $3k for a 500sf studio apartment.

    15. a resident of this block says:

      Because of its freakish height, this building will be a desirable new target for terrorist airplanes, bombs, etc.

    16. Josh2 says:

      Perhaps if the Earth would somehow rotate around the sun, then the light might only block the precious playground for a short period of time each morning. What is Rosenthal doing to pray to the sun gods.

      Also, my kids play in that playground. And we all know shade in any amount is bad.

    17. Josh2 says:

      And can someone explain why a 20 or 30 story building will not make noise or congestion?

      It seems like a lot of the arguments would only apply to leaving it an empty lot.

    18. Francesca says:

      Ugh. Ug—ly. Real estate Goliath wins — again.
      Less would be more for the most people. This is for the ultra-rich and foreign investors. Ugh.

    19. Sean says:

      It’s the residents of Lincoln Towers who are behind all this resistance. Isn’t this so?

    20. Jake Black says:

      This building looks great in my opinion and has very nice architectural features. It will be a great addition to the UWS. There are so many ugly buildings that were built in the 60’s and 70’s that it will be great to have a nicely designed modern bldg. in the area. The Lincoln Towers complex is a huge monstrosity and a blight on the UWS. Anything that blocks the view of that I am in favor of.

      Also honestly how much light is being lost. Can’t understand all the complainers. I remember Landmarks West was up in arms about the renovation of 2 Columbus Circle and the result was a far nicer building that enhanced the area.

      • Nighty-nite, Blight says:

        Re: “The Lincoln Towers complex is a huge monstrosity and a blight on the UWS.”

        Oh, sorry for being a blight. We didn’t realize we were blighting.

        But, thanks to your complaint, we will arrange to have the buildings demolished A.S.A.P.

        But please be aware that the thousands of displaced Lincoln Towers residents, and thir pets, will then be camping out IN YOUR BUILDING’S LOBBY !

        See ya soon !

    21. mhf says:

      I love change and embrace new development in our neighborhood. However, what disappoints me is that impacts are not adequately considered. For example was an impact assessment done to assess something as simple as subway platform overcrowding at 72nd street? Pretty narrow platforms, rush hour crowding, etc. Shouldn’t something like that be addressed before welcoming so many more to our neighborhood? Not all folsKs will be overseas investors …..

    22. B.B. says:

      Apparently UWS residents just do not have enough juice.

      Meanwhile across town on Sutton Place local residents and their supporters have had more success in stopping what they consider an “out of place” building.

      You don’t mess with people who live at One Sutton Place South. *LOL*

    23. Steven Barall says:

      The only reason construction stopped in the first place was because Helen Rosenthal had a primary challenger for the City Council seat but that’s over now so one cares anymore. The way that Helen Rosenthal stood out on the street and tried to steal the issue from Mel Wymore was pathetic but she won so that’s that.

    24. Sean says:

      Before there was Lincoln Center and Lincoln Towers there was San Juan Hill.

    25. Current Tenant says:

      i would happily tell you about the tenants at 323 W 80th but the comment seem closed … no one has moved out, the building is on the market but no offer has been made or accepted AND the owners have discussed the sale with the tenants and will be treated very well IF and WHEN the building is sold.