Construction at 200 Amsterdam Avenue Will Stop ‘By The End of This Week,’ Developer SJP Properties Says (Updated: DOB Says Work Has Stopped)

The elevator at 200 Amsterdam goes up and down.

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.”

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

      From the sound of it (or lack of it) construction at the school at 82nd and West End has finally stopped.

    2. FYI says:

      I’ve also noticed all work has stopped at the American Museum Of Natural History today.

      • Teddy says:

        I walked by the construction site at the Museum late this afternoon and there was still some work being done. One of the workers was taking a break on Columbus Ave; he was smoking then spit on the street. I said something about the spitting, which he ignored. (Obviously never a good idea to spit, but now it can be deadly.)

    3. Coronavirus protocols are constantly changing. There will be great variance in opinion regarding compliance. Confusion as to what protocols are needed will prevail.

      Second guessing their motives is counter productive. Anecdodal evidence is unreliable and unscientific. At this site, the contractor has a better idea of what is essential to secure and close for the duration of the crisis.

      This article only reinforces conspiracy theories by emphasizing perceived non compliance. Until the many issues are finally resolved, we will see continued activity on this site.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Seems like your view from atop the fence is quite Rosy! Thanks for the ‘insight’!! 😉

      • C Chay says:

        Re: 200 WEA… Construction is being done, to begin with, in violation of existing zoning codes, and in DEFIANCE of those codes. Under such circumstances, it makes no sense to defer to the contractor.

      • C Chay says:

        Oops I meant 200 Amsterdam

      • Bidner says:

        Good points, Mr/Ms The article presented assumptions that could be correct, having worked in that industry, wouldn’t surprise me. But yet, they’re still assumptions – not conclusions. With the people I work with, I’ve heard myself say,”Interesting assumption; Now while you’re assigning sinister motive, prove it out like a theorem. (See “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”/ Twilight Zone, 1960)

        • Many contractors do cheat. It only hurts their credibility. The better ones are aware that bad publicity is not something they want. The media has presented this story in a bad light so the public assumes that is what is happening. People believe what they want to believe. Many media sites will report news based on what their readers want to hear. If they hear something bad is going on, it reinforces their preconceived notions.

      • Thomas says:

        Thank you for being the voice of reason on this site. I’ll never forget Helen Rosenthal’s feckless crowing about “taking this building down” after the illegal judgment in the court recently (which will obviously be repealed). All the while ignoring actual quality of life issues that affect everyone on the upper west side. One of the most garish and shameful things I’ve seen our local politicians do in a long time. Shame on her.

        • It is political suicide if our elected officials say things contrary to what their public perceives to be the truth. A large voting group on the UWS wants to hear that developers and big business are the bad guys even if it may not be true. The bad information is repeated over and over. Opinion becomes truth. This is the snow ball that gets larger and larger as it rolls down the hill. The elected official at the bottom of the hill gets clobbered and someone else is elected.

    4. Ish Kabibble says:

      Is it just me, or does SJP seem exceedingly slimy? I really hope they have to remove some floors. Such arrogance.

    5. Marcia says:

      It’s about time. Having to walk through the slap dash wood tunnel to get to and from Lincoln Towers has been presenting “collisions”
      as GROUPS of workers dump out of their little
      construction door and into the tunnel, lterally
      rubbing shoulders with anyone else passing through the tunnel at the same time. No attempt at stepping aside. Once again Lincoln Towers residents are victims of 200 Amsterdam.

    6. THOMAS NEWTON says:

      How can we be sure this ugly,too ttall eyesore NEVER gets a certificate of occupancy? Why, in view of the court order was construction of the illegal extra floors NEVER halted? ENOUGH OF GREEDY BUILDERS IGNORING THE LAW!

      • woody says:

        This is why people like you are going to feel an enormous gut punch when the building is allowed to stand as it is. Just constantly repeating the mantra that something illegal has been done will not achieve your desired outcome. And why is it ok to critique this building as being ugly when, according to another poster, the ugliness of Lincoln Towers doesn’t matter when it’s so nice on the inside.

    7. Marci says:

      Of course they kept working even after the order was for construction to stop. That contractor just does whatever he wants. I truly hope the building get ruled against and floors have to be removed. We have to stop this flagrant disregard for laws and rulings.

      • Woody says:

        There was no order issued to stop construction. That can come only from the Building Department.

    8. SD says:

      Many thanks to Olive Freud and Upper West Side politicians for sticking up to the ugly, eyesore and out-of-scale 200 Amsterdam building before and during the Virus! Please keep up the good work defending us and pushing for the 20 upper floors to come down after the pandemic is over. Amen!
      There wasn’t much distaste or uneasiness while the 2 other high rises on Amsterdam Ave (west 66 and west 68 Streets) went up a few years ago. They blend better in our neighborhood. And the construction site of these 2 buildings was much cleaner, organized and quieter.

    9. Miranda says:

      I thought they were ordered to lop off 20 stories of this ugly behemoth? It looms over the PS 199 playground in an ominous and unsightly way. Everything about it is garbage. My son informed me a hammer fell out of the building into the basketball court weeks after it happened several months ago.

    10. Steve UWS says:

      This Japanese company after attempting to illegally add floors to this building – was told to stop by a judge and ordered to remove 20 odd floors of height, continues to break the law, and now this.

      I for one, hope the NYC DOB and the NY courts throw the book at these corrupt, morally bankrupt developers.
      SJP developers based on this outrageous behavior should be denied any and all building permits in the city going forward.

    11. Marty says:

      Just prolong the agony of looking at the ugly construction sight

      • What a disaster! says:

        …and it sure is going to look that way for another four years plus…. thanks to the do-gooders.

    12. Randi says:

      Maybe they will stop now but weren’t they supposed to chop off the top 20 floors instead of continuing to add floors?

    13. Stephen Dobi says:

      I know it is way to late now but I don’t know how a residential building like this could get permission to build without a garage. I thought this was not possible. I don’t know how many apartments are going in but let’s say 500. Only relatively wealthy people are going to occupy these apartments. It is possible that there will be half as many cars as there are apartments. Where are these 250 cars going to park? There is limited parking space in the area. What is this going to do to parking rates?