Tuesday: Hearing About ‘Tallest’ UWS Building That Has Been Stalled for Months

The site has barely budged since the summer. Photo via 64th-67th Block Association.

Construction of the megatower planned for 50 West 66th Street has been stalled for five months, with little explanation. Extell has not responded to our request for comment, and the West 64th-67th Street Block Association, which has been following the project closely, can find no explanation.

A rendering of the building by Snohetta.

One issue may be that the project faces community opposition, and could be forced to change its plans based on the results of an upcoming hearing. On Tuesday, preservationist group Landmark West will present its challenge to the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which rules on zoning. At issue is the mechanical space that Extell has used in the middle of the building, which lifted the building higher than zoning regulations might otherwise allow.The Department of Buildings was okay with the mechanical spaces, called “mechanical voids” by opponents. Landmark West has more about the project here — it uses 36 West 66th as the address for the building.

The hearing starts at 10 a.m. at the Board of Standards and Appeals at 22 Reade Street.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      I wish they would just construct this building once and for all.

      200 Amsterdam Avenue is almost completed despite a very vocal minority of greedy malcontents who opposed it.

      This tower on West 66th Street will inevitably be constructed as there is no legal justification for stopping it.

      Like it or not Extell was in compliance with all DOB requirements when they submitted their plans and these plans were approved by the DOB.

      Saying you don’t like a “supertall” is not legal grounds for prohibiting its construction.

      • Jeri Savoy says:

        We all still have freedom of speech, I hope. The developer was tricky and tried to fool all of the people all of the time – and it looks like they might just get away with it. New Yorkers don’t like real estate developers being tricky in their neighborhoods.

        • Sherman says:

          How are this developer being “tricky”?

          And nobody is suppressing freedom of speech.

          You’re free to rant and protest all you want about how you don’t like this building – but this doesn’t mean you have legal grounds to halt this construction.

      • Guillermo says:

        Just because it was approved by DOB doesn’t mean that the calculation was following the intent if the law. In the AE firm the calculations for mechanical deductions are done by “p-line’ in cad by a drafter and “massaged” (altered fraudently) till the PM is convinced that enough sf is obtained to meet the developers demands and thus merit a bonus or another commission. There’s nobody at the DOB that will take the time to check the calculation.

    2. Kaylee McDonald says:

      Despite the sentiment of the investor below, we can and must still fight to keep these disgusting bird killing eyesores out of our city. We need to keep vigilant and have our voices heard. These buildings are designed for foreign investors and politicians on the take and do not represent anyone. They are absolutely no use but to shed major shadow on all that is still intact.

      • Hiram B says:

        Kaylee, you are living in the wrong city. Luckily, your opinion has no influence and you are in the minority.

        • Liifeoong UWS says:

          She’s loving in the wrong city? Seriously? Luckily her opinion has no influence?

          You disagree with her and therefore she is living in the wrong city?

          I…think not. I think she is 100% living in the right city though perhaps at a time when her opinion won’t be listened to and that is not a good thing.

          I do not think this city needs more luxury housing. We definitely need more housing for the poor and middle class. . I also know that it is highly unlikely to happen but I think it is right to talk about.

      • Josh P. says:

        In a growing region, we can either grow up, or grow out. Tall buildings are much better for the environment (including the birds!) than exurban sprawl. People need to live!

      • Frank says:

        If you don’t like tall buildings you should move to westchester. Who lives in NYC and then complains that there are skyscrapers? Mindboggling.

      • Maggie Brier says:

        Our neighborhood does not need more buildings like this. We are not equipped in many ways — transit, education,parking — to handle it!

    3. LarryK says:

      When there’s a will, there’s a way!! Business people (ie, real estate developers) are way ahead of civil servants when money is at stake. Fault the DOB for allowing these voids to artificially raise building heights. Their new name should be Dept of SOB’s…Significantly Out Boxed!

    4. Weird That Way says:

      So many tall buildings in that area now. Like it or not, it fits in.

    5. We are suffocating in Lincoln center
      No more space for pedestrians to walk on side walk or crossing the streets
      This building bring another 1000 citizens in this area plus the crowd from Lincoln center (the met the philarmonie snd the ny city ballet and the apple circus )
      Where are the genius to plan for a decent city
      It’s revolting it’s look like a shanty town

      • Josh P. says:

        Come to the community board meetings on parking. If the sidewalk is too crowded on a block, we should widen ban parking and widen the side walk there. They are doing it around Penn Station and we should do it here too.

    6. Dale says:

      Been thrilled for the break in horrendously disruptive noise from 7:00 am til 6:00 nonstop.

    7. Robert Sheridan says:

      This is the Dumbest place to put up a large building – whether tall as projected or less.

      This is the Park block, bounded by 65th, 66th Streets – loading or unloading all the cross-Park traffic as the transverses are there.

      Vehicles accessing/servicing the building on either street will impact or be stuck in significant traffic.

      They will ask, likely get, top dollar for those units, but a very poorly situated location which will impact traffic, cause congestion and pollution.

      Another NYC bureaucratic/politician quality-of-life disaster in the current Pay to Play environment.

    8. haters_gonna_hate says:

      Beautiful building though!
      I live in Lincoln towers, just west of this site. I’m for anything that will bring something new to the neighborhood, I don’t care how tall it is. Especially enthusiastic about attractive new additions, that would be a welcome change to most of the housing around here.

    9. your_neighbor says:

      More UWS whiners complaining about something new and modern.
      Yes the use of void spaces was a sneaky but perfectly legal maneuver but it looks like a beautiful addition to the neighborhood and I hope all of this protest nonsense against it is done with soon so that the construction can be completed.

    10. AC says:

      I wonder if people wined and complained 120 years ago when the Dakota was built, as it towered over the entire UWS.

      Change, with every passing generation, is inevitable. Lets move on.

      • David S says:

        Umm…when the Dakota was built (136 years ago, not 120), there was _nothing_ in the neighborhood. Did you expect that the gophers would complain?

      • B.B. says:

        Towered over what “UWS”? There literally wasn’t anything of size around for blocks.

        In fact building was named so because everyone said it was so far north it might as well be in “the Dakotas”.

    11. We are a group fighting against the construction of the tallest hospital in New York City; the second tallest in the world!! in our residential upper east side neighborhood.
      We would like to join forces with groups on the west side.
      Please contact us.

      • Frank says:

        Imagine having enough free time that you organize against a HOSPITAL.

      • Jack says:

        I would do anything in my power to join forces AGAINST you and your “group”. How dare you move to limit the construction parameters of a hospital! You will lose, and your ceaseless whining and bluster will have been for nothing.

      • B.B. says:

        What some UES residents are up in arms over:


        North Shore-LIJ (now Northwell) long has moaned Lenox Hill’s campus is outdated and unsuited to modern healthcare. Part of this is increasing focus on outpatient care instead of days of inpatient.

        Lenox Hill occupies entire city block between 77th and 76th from Park to Lexington. Idea is to shrink horizontal footprint but build “up” instead for a new facility, then redevelop now “unused” portion of campus for new residential tower to help pay costs.

        To be honest not everyone has been happy with Lenox Hill going from basically an UES “private” hospital to serving a more general population. But Northwell (then NS-LIJ) didn’t buy that place not to make money.

        Northwell is the largest private employer in NYS IIRC. And also (IIRC) one of the better off financially if not wealthiest healthcare system. They purchased entire block along Third from 76th to 77th that is becoming a new complex.

    12. Al says:

      The idea of putting dead space in a building just to build taller than the neighbors is like something out of a bad satire.

      I wonder if real estate values will be negatively impacted once all of the foliage in the southern quarter of Central Park dies off because that entire portion of the park is perpetually shaded? Or will the city just approve constructing more of these towers in the part of the park where nothing natural will grow?

      • Michael says:

        Perpetually shadowed foliage? You are aware the shadows change CONSTANTLY with the passing of the day and the change of seasons throughout the year? Of all the arguments against tall buildings, the “shadow” argument is literally the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    13. jezbel says:

      I know I posted a remark here earlier today and it never seemed to make it.
      I’m opposed to these super tall, square glass buildings for a variety of reasons and most of them are valid. They will add to the density of people on the sidewalks, the traffic in the streets (as they will no doubt have cars they will want to park either in the building or another garage). It will add to the extra strollers & double wide strollers on a crowded sidewalks as myriad more families moved into these multi floored robo-buildings. They don’t reflect the feel of the UWS, they’re austere,cold and add no personality to the nabe.
      The rents will be astronomical – none of us reading this will be able to comfortably rent there. I don’t know if they’re condo or rental either way it’s not for your average New Yorker — it’s for hedge fund managers. People who are making in excess of 1 million or more a year. Who can afford 2.5 or 3 or 5 million for a 1, 2 or 3 BR apartment. If they’re rentals I can tell you right now that a family sized apartment – say a 3 bedroom will have only about 1200 sq ft. but charge upwards of $10,000 – $13,000 a month.
      And I know that because I’m in an ANCIENT old apartment building, between B’way & West End. They were built bigger 75 years ago when mine was built. I have 2400 sq. ft. it’s nice & roomy, 3 BR and the walls & ceilings are paper thin. Sometimes my water doesn’t work. Sometimes the heat doesn’t work and the windows all leak cold air in the winter. But I took it because I needed the space. I have my recording business in my home. And I have visiting children. When I saw it I thought it was a steal. And I know what I pay is well below new prices ….. but higher than many because it’s big. I pay alot. Under $10,000 but over $8900. So I know what these places go for. New building will be very pricey.
      And very small for the money.
      The people there will have the money and not shop local. They’ll shot online or at Bloomies or Nordstrom. They’ll vacation in the Hamptons in the summer. They won’t help out the “community” because their kids will go to the private schools.
      I can’t imagine why anyone wants zombie neighbors. We only see their spawn & their nannies.
      Any way it goes…. when my lease is up in their dusty, squeeky, noisy building – I’m outta Dodge. I returned to NYC 5 1/2 years ago. Long time Upper West Sider and what I’m seeing looks like this City looked in the late 70 early 80’s. Yuck Homless on every corner. Poorly working trains & busses, crazy people who slash others on the train.
      Love the music, theatre, shops, all it has to offer. But di Blasio has been very bad for this town.

    14. Jeri Savoy says:

      I can’t help but wonder if the people who buy the apartments on the top half of those supertalls know how many days a year they can’t see anything out their windows because of fog? It’s more often that you would expect. Bummer, eh????