By Carol Tannenhauser
Construction of the controversial building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue and West 69th Street will stop by the end of this week, a spokesperson for the developer SJP Properties told WSR.
“200 Amsterdam is working on final preparations to make sure the site is left safe and secure until the time when New York condominium projects are authorized to return to construction activities. We expect the site safety work to be completed by the end of this week. Security will remain on-site and there will be weekly inspections to ensure the integrity of the site.”
SJP will be one of the last companies to shut construction down. Many did so when Governor Andrew Cuomo put a “pause” on all nonessential business in the city, on March 20th, in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But, as we reported, some, like SJP, continued to build, to the consternation of community members, unions, elected officials, and some WSR readers, who spoke out. On March 27th, Cuomo made his directive specific and mandatory.
“We’re closing down nonessential construction sites,” he said at a press conference. “Some construction is essential to keep the place running, but nonessential construction is going to be stopped.”
Barron’s reported that by then “work at many sites had already wound down either by choice or by necessity as fewer and fewer workers showed up…amid the spread of the disease…The governor’s decision came amid mounting pressure from New York City Council members and union reps, who said thousands of laborers were putting their health and the health of others in danger for nonessential projects.”
Olive Freud, president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development and one of the leading opponents of 200 Amsterdam, said SJP’s delay in halting construction was “the height of arrogance…There’s no way a luxury condominium is essential at this time.”
Other Upper West Siders also complained, both about their fear of sickness and spread, and that the noise from the site was disrupting in-home work and schooling. After Cuomo’s second announcement, we received several emails from readers saying that construction at 200 Amsterdam still had not stopped.
“One week after your article and after NYC asked that all non-essential construction cease, the construction elevators on the 200 Amsterdam super-tall luxury building are still moving all day carrying loads of workers up and down more than 50 stories,” one wrote.
“They are piling up steel framing studs,” wrote another. “What this has to do with securing the site, I cannot fathom. They claim they have to work all day, every day this week, to secure the site. What nonsense.”
Update: On Thursday, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer sent WSR the following email:
“This is what we received today Ap 2 2020 from the Dept of Buildings regarding 200 Amsterdam Ave:
Our inspectors have made visits yesterday and today. We have determined there is no regular construction in progress at this site. There is some emergency work that is going on – only two workers and a Site Safety Manager at site pumping water out of the elevator’s pits to prevent electrical parts to get damaged. A request for emergency work was submitted to DOB and once the pumping is done they will leave the site.”