Proposed 20-Story Nursing Home Wins Court Battle, But Parents and Neighbors Will Continue Fighting

Jewish Home Lifecare, which is planning to build a 20-story nursing home at 97th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus, won a court ruling this week against neighbors and parents of children at PS 163 next door.

JHL runs the nursing home on 106th Street and has been planning to move it to the new parcel on 97th Street for several years, but a legal battle has kept those plans on ice. JHL, which owns several eldercare facilities, plans to call the building The Living Center. It is expected to have 414 beds, including 264 long-term-care beds and 150 post-acute (short-term rehabilitation) beds. The center will also have rooftop gardens, a library and training spaces.

This recent court case concerned the state’s environmental review of the project — parents and neighbors had said it failed to take into account the environmental risks from the project, which could harm the kids who play right next door. The appeals court, however, found the state’s review to be adequate.

“The State conducted an extensive and rigorous analysis while preparing its Environmental Impact Statement and subsequently required Jewish Home to take measures to mitigate potential construction impacts on P.S. 163, including several specific steps suggested by Jewish Home that go well beyond standard industry construction mitigations,” said Bruce Nathanson, Senior Vice President of The New Jewish Home (the official name of the JHL nonprofit), in a statement.

But another challenge remains. The litigants have also filed suit over the new building’s zoning, challenging the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. That suit is being heard at the state supreme court’s appellate division. Martin Rosenblatt, PWV Working Group, said that

“We have a series of steps that we will be undertaking to insure that this ill conceived JHL project to construct a twenty story tower on a toxic site that is seriously injurious to our neighborhood, that includes the children at PS163, other young children not yet in school, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems never takes place.

There is still another law suit that deals with the Bureau of Standards and Appeals that has yet to be ruled on by the Courts plus the follow up to any Court rulings.

In addition there are additional other measures going forward that we are undertaking that will be spelled out as we go forward!

We are hopeful and determined as ever at our success going forward to stop this project.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 27 comments | permalink
    1. David Goldstein says:

      The West-bound traffic on 97th St. is at a standstill most school days.
      Has anyone considered what traffic will be like during 2 years of construction and the continuing operation of a 414-bed facility with a few hundred employees?

      • Christina says:

        Welcome to NYC! Traffic is a NIGHTMARE anywhere in this city where there is construction! There has been ans still are are lots of construction going on where there are hospitals, nursing homes etc. Just think of the construction of the 2nd Ave subway, which went on for more than 2 years! It’s what happens here!

      • UpperwestsideWally says:

        I agree that west-bound traffic on 97th St. is at a standstill most school days. I often outWALK an emergency vehicle between Columbus Ave and West End Ave.
        Possible solution: make two left turn lanes at the 97th Street Transverse exit; this will force most traffic to use CPW/96th Street, instead of getting bottlenecked in a 10 ft lane at 97th and WEA.

    2. Ivan says:

      One issue never discussed is..W 97 St is a major cross town thoroughfare. If the nursing home does what they do at their current address, traffic will really suck, double parked vans… Will they have space and make their drivers park off street?

      • Beth says:

        I’m in agreement with Ivan and David. Who can we contact to protest this project? I was just walking by there the other day thinking about how nice it is that the building has not been built.

        • Christina says:

          Obviously, either your parents aren’t around. Or they live in another part of the country or you’re too young to think about what happens to your parents when they get older! I, on the other hand has a mother who has been living on the upper west side for the better part of her life and will need a place to go in the not so distant future! This is also occurring to all of her friends who live up here! So, I would rather see the elderly taken care of than having a place to store a car or as you say ” how nice it is that the building the building has not been built” SHAME ON YOU! God forbid there’s no place for you when you get old!

          • Josh says:

            Christina, if you’re looking for JHL to provide the elder care you want, then this project is against your wishes because it will CUT the number of elders they can support in their current facility. They are doing this purely to line the pockets of the JHL staff with the kick backs they are getting from the lands owner who will build luxury apartments in their old spot because he couldn’t legally in his existing spot. But I guess you are also OK with the 600 students who will have trouble learning for 2 years when their skills as learner should be most developed.

            • Christina says:

              I grew up on the Upper West Side. Went to public schools on the UWS, had construction going on all around me, went to High School on 57th St. and 2nd Ave. and had construction, traffic and stores all around me AND not at ANT time was my learning inhibited by any of that noise. Neither did it affect my classmates! This is just a bunch of hot air by ridiculous spoiled parents!

      • Wendy says:

        I work quite frequently at the Jewish Home on 106th Street. I rarely see a “traffic jam” in front of that place.. The school creates WAY more traffic disruptions with all their buses than this facility would. ANY kind of construction impacts the traffic and neighborhood while it’s happening. That’s a fact of life in Manhattan. West 87th Street is closed during the day between Broadway and West End while they construct a building there. So what? I think it would be a nice mix to have a senior home next to an elementary school. The opportunity for a lot of cross pollination is there. These objections are just not valid enough imho to have a spanking new nursing and rehab facility on the UWS – for everyone’s elderly parents and other relatives who need rehab centers. Those few hundred employees will spend money in the neighborhood, buying lunch and coffee, etc. It will be a boon for the neighborhood.

        This really stinks of NIMN. It’s a perfectly adequate space for them to build on. All that will be lost is a (private) outdoor parking lot. People who lose their affordable parking spots might well get rid of their cars, which should help reduce traffic on that street as well.

        • Beth says:

          @Wendy – Please explain to us where the ambulances and Access-A-Rides are going to park on that narrow, busy street? Are you aware that much of the sidewalk is technically a park? Are you aware that 97th Street is one of the few East-West vehicle crossings in that neighborhood? If you think that all that will be lost is an outdoor parking lot, you are not familiar with the neighborhood.

          Yes, I am happy this building has not been built yet and I hope it does not get built. Yes, I will be complaining to Mark Levine’s office. IMHO Jewish Home Lifecare is no different than the Salvation Army, which sold out out the elderly residents in their 95th Street building to luxury condo developers. JHL just wants what benefits them financially without any thought about whether this project is appropriate for this neighbhorhood.

    3. ScooterStan says:

      And…will their food be palatable?

      Personal experience: They did the impossible a few years back: served food More fit for a dog-and-cat hospital than for a rehab facility.


    4. Adam Cherson says:

      Why is the site called “toxic” by Martin Rosenblatt?

    5. j says:

      Development issues are worse in the West 60s with several super-tall (40+ stories) luxury buildings going up.

      Crosstown traffic and M66 bus will be at a permenent standstill.

    6. Rob G. says:

      Yuck! A nursing home is depressing enough for that stretch of town, but did they need to use a public housing project for a template?

      • Chrsitina says:

        Rob G. Yuck! You are disgusting! Hope you never have to think about where you live when you get old! My mother will need a place like this sooner than later and she deserves it! AS ANY OLDER PERSON DOES! Besides, my mther has done more for the Upper West Side during her lifetime than you ever would! What you said is Gross! Sorry!

    7. Reed says:

      The Jewish Home and Hospital is a non-profit organization with a mission that is honorable and will greatly service the immediate community. I question the objections of the Park West Village community regarding zoning and environmental impacts that they are claiming. It is an interesting comparison to note that the Upper West Side community and our political representatives have been dead silent with the West 108 garages even though highly toxic hazardous conditions likely exist and yet the possible harm is dismissed. Why do the residents and the local school have more value to their lives on West 97 Street vs. the impoverished community surrounding the West 108 Street project. Both projects will serve the city and both have schools. The marked different between West 97 Street and West 108 Street projects are the socio-economic makeup of the 2 communities. The support by political representatives of the more empowered community of Park West Village and not West 108 Street appears to be an expression of overt discrimination and this has been the pattern within the Upper West Side for too many years.

    8. wombatNYC says:

      That Empty Lot is a perfect location for this building – I likey !

    9. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      As someone who values seniors, I support the construction of this facility. Only on the Upper West Side do we have NIMBYs heartless enough to oppose even nursing homes.

    10. Fjl618 says:

      I will gladly trade the 20 story nursing home for the 228 foot tall behemoth going up on Amsterdam and 70th St.

    11. young_man! says:

      This will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

      I don’t understand how people can be against this when you have the ugly monstrosities of Park West Village just one block to the east. Worse than Lincoln Towers.

    12. Tyson White says:

      Once again, people are fighting against homes for the elderly because of parking spaces. Smh

      • Josh says:

        Seems the argument that this location is a perfect place because other locations are putting up with project like this is just mean. If one group suffers we should all suffer? Why not aim to not allow ANY project to make people suffer? Why not aim to have all schools not be subject to construction within 500 FT during school hours? Why not aim no street to be so traffic ridden that people (including the elderly) are better off walking than talking public or private transportation.
        And if JHL is so concerned with their elderly, why does this project have FEWER beds than their current location? If their current facility is so bad, why spend thousands on lawyers for 6 years when they could have just found another location years ago? If it was so urgent, why not even agree to pay for central air in the school? It would have cost less than their legal fees.

        • Christina says:

          Again Josh, don’t be ridiculous about consruction disrupting classes or harmful for children! As I stated in a response to your response to my post… I attended grade school, middle school on the UWS and I attended high School on 57th and 2nd Ave. And NEVER once were there any complaints about the construction that was all around us in all the schools I went to! Parents these days are more childish than their children!

    13. Independent says:

      Yet again, we see anyone who opposes or challenges JHL’s planned construction of a new facility on W. 97th Street attacked, accused of not valuing or caring about the elderly. At least one commenter went so far as to flat-out call said opponents “heartless”. Such vitriol, besides being gratuitously offensive, insulting and inflammatory, would seem unfounded. Of all the comments that have been posted to this page as of the time I began writing this post, I can recall only one expressing any objection to a nursing home, per se.

      Rather, what people have expressed objection to about the planned facility is:
      (a) the increased traffic that it would bring to what is an already inordinately congested and strained, relatively narrow street– one that functions as a critical east-west thoroughfare,
      (b) claims that the construction would, particularly and especially by releasing toxins, adversely affect the health of the children who attend the neighboring school

      The validity of (a);the concerns and objections about the traffic, at least, seems manifest to me. I have long found them nothing short-of compelling and I have yet to see or hear such objections and concerns seriously addressed, much less refuted, by any proponent of the planned construction.

      Moreover, I do not see how it could be denied that any considerable worsening of the traffic reality in-question would, inevitably, adversely affect not only the staff of the JHL facility but also and most concerningly, its patients and residents (as well as their families and others who would visit and tend-to said elderly and infirm individuals). In other words, the very seniors whose welfare forms the basis of the attacks, which I addresssed above, upon those of us who oppose the planned construction in-question.

      Could anyone actually argue that the far-wider 106th Street, where JHL is currently located, is not considerably better-suited for a nursing home facility than the planned W. 97th Street location? Could JHL not renovate/expand/construct a new facility as needed at its present location? Or, if for whatever reason that would not be practical, could they not find another location, one better-suited for such use than the currently planned location on 97th Street? Why must it be there?

      • Jay says:

        “Why must it be there?”

        Because they purchased the property and have gone through all the proper permitting to build it there. If they rebuild on 106, where are all the patients going to go? How much more will that cost than building on an empty lot.

        I’m still waiting to hear any logical reasons why it shouldn’t be built on 97th St (a small amount of additional traffic and mitigated “toxins” are not logical).

      • Rob G. says:

        It was supposed to move to 100th Street, but the city didn’t allow it. That block has virtually nothing on it except the fire station, police station, & the library. Quiet & wide street. Crazy that they didn’t put it there.