20-Story Nursing Home Project Rejected by Appeals Court

A rendering of the proposed nursing home.

A state appeals court rejected a nursing home known as New Jewish Home planned for West 97th Street, saying that the project would violate zoning rules.

The court focused on the open space rules for the larger area in the zoning code, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The court majority ruled that rooftop amenity space above retail wings at the new apartment building, 808 Columbus Avenue, including a saltwater pool, couldn’t count as required open space because it wasn’t open to residents of the older apartment buildings. That didn’t leave enough open space to allow the nursing home to go forward.”

City boards and another state court had previously given the project the OK. Jewish Home has a location on 106th Street, and planned to move to 97th through a deal it had made with a developer.

The ruling is just the latest in a multi-year battle between the nonprofit agency of UJA-Federation that wants to build the home and neighbors who have opposed it. Parents of children at adjacent PS 163 have also opposed the construction. It’s not yet clear if the nonprofit will appeal the ruling.

“We are deeply disappointed by the Appellate Division’s decision,” said Bruce Nathanson, Senior Vice President of The New Jewish Home, in a statement. “Prior to this ruling, the open space calculations for our site underwent three different, independent reviews by the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals and the New York State Supreme Court and were upheld at every stage. While we will consider our options regarding this decision, The New Jewish Home remains 100 percent committed to serving older adults in New York City with an array of innovative health care services.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Lora Frisch says:

      In case of an emergency you can’t evacuate a 20 story building filled with nursing home residents in a timely manner.

    2. WombatNYC says:

      It’s the perfect location for this building – Let them build it .. Enough already

    3. Jeff Segall says:

      Strange that those huge super-tall buildings that add no services to their neighborhoods are routinely granted waivers and exceptions to crowd our city with unsightly and disproportionate sticks in the air. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some day, such a behemoth occupies the space in which the New Jewish Home could have stood.

      • Madd Donna says:

        Of course they rejected this proposal because it’s for and to help senior New Yorkers. They only care about big bribes and selling as much property, etc. to foreign entities.

    4. Josh says:

      UWS conservatives will oppose any building. When they say they don’t want empty condos for millionaires, they’re lying. They don’t want anything built. When they say they don’t want out of context buildings, they’re lying. They don’t want anything built. This is a totally in context building for seniors and the anti-housing special interests have succeeded in blocking it for years.

    5. AC says:

      We can allow a skyscraper to be built in the UWS but not allow the construction of a 20 floor nursing home due to a zoning violation.

      Got to love our court system!

    6. Christina says:

      It’s terrible that the nursing home has been rejected! We need better and more accommodations on the UWS! The elderly are always put in the back burner! Very sad considering we will all ( God willing) get there at one point! As far as construction across from an elementary school… Sorry but I grew up here on the UWS and went to school by loads of construction and nothing ever happened! Some of these parents are wayyy tooo overly cautious and protective, hovering of their children! Get over it! You live in a city where there is always construction being done!

      • Zulu says:

        Hi Christina,

        I agree with you about having to live or go to school next to a construction site. In Manhattan it’s just part of life. However, in this particular case, this development would need to blast the bedrock in order to build the foundation. Since it’s a residential neighborhood there is no way blasting would be allowed at night so it would have to be done during school hours. There is no chance that the school would not be impacted by weeks of continuous controlled explosions just a few feet away. There is no sound wall in the world that would be able to significantly mitigate the noise or the vibrations coming from the site. In particular for the kindergarten classes which are held in trailers adjacent to the work.

        There is also the issue of the crane which would’ve been staged next to the school. Even though swing limits would have been set to prevent the boom from passing over the school during normal operation, during high winds the cranes are to be left free to rotate (like a wind vane) to prevent undue forces from toppling them over. Unfortunately, during the last 10 years New Yorkers have witnessed a number of fatal crane accidents and thinking of one hovering over an elementary school inevitably gives parents a lump in their throats.

        Hence, given the above stated issues and a few others not mentioned here the school parents and staff are right to be concerned and oppose the construction.

    7. Dr. Cary Goodman says:

      A great victory for open space / public space advocates.

      MAZEL TOV!

      • Zulu says:

        Dear Dr. Goodman,

        Let’s not confuse issues here. Although this is a good outcome strictly from the adjacent elementary school’s point of view, the open space/public space you claim to have gained victory over is a privately owned and paved parking lot.

      • David says:

        Dear Dr Goodman,

        As a therapist, good luck explaining to your patients who cannot find quality care and living space for their elderly relatives.

    8. Pedestrian says:

      Finally someone decided to apply the law to land use decisions. Credit must be given to John LW Beer, the lawyer who just wouldn’t give up. Congratulations John.

      • John Barleycorn says:

        Re: “Credit must be given to John LW Beer,….”

        More than just credit, let us BUY BEER A BEER!

    9. Chrigid says:

      The home on 106 has a terrific reputation, but I would not want any relative or friend of mine–or me–to be at 97th and Amsterdam.

      The traffic congestion is so bad that any patient needing an ambulance could be put in peril.

      Did the Environmental Impact Study even contain a traffic assessment? Was a new one done after the bike lane was installed?

      • Christina says:

        I have had my mother there for rehab and she has had a few friends stay at the nursing home potion! Not very good at all! Under staffed, antiquated and in need of more attention! Being in a new facility would be a very welcome change. Yes, even on 97th Street! It is very sad and pathetic we don’t have much time for the elderly!!!

      • Zulu says:

        If anything the bike lane would have helped their cause as it would allow an ambulance to bypass grid lock on the avenue.

      • robert says:

        Yes it did Pls also not that the ambulance could and will be able to also enter through from 100th street

    10. Ben David says:

      Very sad. The elderly will suffer. As a society, this is another example of how poorly American treats its aged population!

    11. A.C. says:

      Like I said: An unwelcoming environment for developers.

      This project actually serves a purpose and is in no way tall, or out of context, but all people look at is the space it takes up, and are acting on that. It’s truly appalling.

    12. Tim says:

      A development project that serves to benefit the community gets shot down, yet the 19 story luxury condos going up just blocks away on 95th (featuring only 38 units) comes through without issue…

      • A.C. says:

        I will actually take this a step further:

        200 Amsterdam Avenue is the only project that utilizes it’s space to the fullest. Out of all the projects going up, in terms of physical ground space, it’s actually one of the smallest in the neighborhood, and yet it offers more apartments per floor than almost every other new development, and that project, using it’s land to it’s fullest, is under threat, and so is this. Meanwhile, projects that can barely squeeze out 50 apartments go up, no problem.

        Again, no one knows what they want, and it’s an unwelcoming community for positive development.

    13. robert says:

      Guess what all the JH home has to do is change the plan from 20 to 19 stories and it meets this courts requirements and the project gets a green light from this court
      Even easier is to just open the poll to “public access” during certain hours, this was done with several other buildings in the area,
      Actually they can keep it at 20 stories and claim only 19. How can the do this you say? City law/regs do not count “mechanical spaces” against the height of a building. There for move the HAVAC system , for example, out of the basement and say put it on what would be the 10th floor. Don’t believe it? Take a look at the plans for the two Ariel buildings on Bway and 100th. They are a recent example of this

    14. Ryan says:

      There are not many quality non profit Nursing homes left in NYC. They do good work…..God’s work. Let them build it. It’s an asset to the community and uniquely bounds up the community, staff and residents with plenty of opportuniities for collaboration.

    15. Rob G. says:

      No matter what happens, the architect should be jailed for trying to pass off an ugly 1983 design as a 2018 state-of-the-art building!

      At any rate, nobody should lament a “loss” here. We are losing nothing as the Jewish Home already exists on 106th Street. They can rebuild there.

      Alternatively they could build it on West 100th Street which was their original plan anyway. That plan got rejected because of a zoning issue (which I don’t completely understand – all there is there is a church, a library, a FDNY station and a NYPD station there.) West 100th a much more appropriate site as that street is wider and not a congested thoroughfare like 97th Street.

    16. Andrew says:

      All three “independent reviews” were paid for by the developer. The city just accepted the reports as being true on face value. I have read the reports. They are lies. I have lived here for over 60 years. But this site is just not the right one for the home. The traffic would have made life impossible for both the students and our seniors. Go to 97th and Columbus at 8:30 am & 2:45 pm and see the the traffic mess right now. The home would make the traffic ten times worse. And then add the Whole Foods trucks. Any honest independent analysis would have concluded that this is not the proper site for such an important building as nursing home. More homes for our seniors are needed but just not at this location.

    17. robert says:

      I have to laugh at this whole situation. The big “environmental claim” here is that by ripping up the pavement it MAY (key here is MAY) release lead into the air from leaded fuel residuals that again MAY be there trapped in the pavement. If that’s really the case I should not matter as we are already dead. Over the past several weeks DOT has milled and grounded into a fine dust the pavement the length of Columbus ave. If this was real issue the city, sate and federal gov, not mention environmental lobby groups would have stopped all city construction. Yet everyday the street are being ripped open. Much of the length of WEA has been opened to put in new gas lines. Where was all this concern back in the 90’s and early 2000’s when all of Columbus Ave was opened up to have all of the systems upgraded? Water, sewer gas, electric etc?????

      • iris agar says:

        I recently read that the UWS has the largest concentration of senior citizens in all of NYC – I am a senior citizen, and after reading the article, I was hoping that if I am going to live in a senior citizen stetl, at least let their be first class services for for the elderly – I guess not.