Proposed 22-Story Building at 96th and Broadway Will Have One Affordable Unit, Developer Says

By Renée Roden

The public got a first look at a major development project planned for 96th Street and Broadway at a Community Board 7 meeting held on the Zoom video conferencing platform on Wednesday.

Kenneth Lowenstein, speaking on behalf of Extell Development, and Jennifer Cheuck, architect at Stephen B Jacobs group, presented the developer’s plans for 2551 Broadway, the old site of Gristedes supermarket. Extell Development bought the site in 2017 and then demolished it, filing construction permits for a new building in January.

The building’s application surprised the committee members by only including one affordable unit in a building planned to take up approximately 276,578 square feet.

The site as it looked after demolition.

Lowenstein explained that the building is in R10-A zoning and is completely is an “as of right” building, meaning that the application does not require the community board’s approval to move forward.

The building is under the voluntary inclusionary housing program, which means that, according to zoning rules, the building receives an extra 3.5 square feet of allotted space for every 1 square foot of affordable housing included in the building.

Lowenstein mentioned that the 2551 building is using the bonus space generated by 40 Riverside Boulevard building, which he said did not use all the bonus square footage allotted from its affordable housing units.

Included in the voluntary inclusionary program, the normal building height cap of 210 feet for as of right zoning in the district is increased to 235 feet. Given the steeply graded hill of West 96th Street leading up to Broadway, committee member Ira Mitchneck raised the question of how the height of the building would be measured. Architect Jennifer Cheuck did not give an answer as to the exact height of the building as measured both from Broadway and from 96th Street lobby but said that the 235 feet height is measured from the base plane, which is an average between the highest and the lowest point of the building’s foundation.

The affordable housing unit in the building is a 794 square feet one-bedroom unit, with the same fixtures as the other market-rate units. It will be an ownership unit sold through the HPD lottery. In the voluntary inclusionary housing program, the units remain affordable housing in perpetuity.

The Community Board met via Zoom.

As for the building’s facade, Cheuck said, it will be “brick piers with large windows throughout the facade. It’s not an all-glass building, it will have a brick facade with a lot of articulation and frames, to be a part of the Upper West Side neighborhood.”

The ground floor will have a little over 9,000 square feet of retail space. Lowenstein said the owners wanted it to be “a family-oriented, neighborhood-centered building,” and hoped the retail establishments would reflect that. No mention of a parking garage was made.

Cheuck said that the firm did a preliminary study and they found no environmental issues. Traffic studies were not done, Lowenstein said.

When pressed on the plentiful construction in that five-block area, Cheuck said they were unaware of construction permits being filed for the neighboring site, 266 West 96th street.

Land Use Committee co-chair Seema Reddy asked about the construction timeline. Lowenstein said that he hoped that they would be allowed to start construction in the fall, and estimated construction would run three years. Cheuck clarified that construction was estimated to take about two years, and they were seeking a foundation permit to start construction as soon as the city is open this summer.

The committee urged the representatives for the new 2551 Broadway building to cooperate with the community, particularly to coordinate construction and traffic flows at the intersection to promote neighborhood safety. Ira Mitchneck asked where the staging area for the trucks for construction would be located and expressed his concern for construction staging taking up precious street space on Broadway.

Broadway and 96th Street and West End between 96th and 97th are consistently shown to be the “most dangerous streets for pedestrians in our district,” CB7 President Diller added. Diller ended the meeting by calling upon the 2551 Broadway representatives to “join with us and Penny Ryan, our expert district manager, to form that construction advisory group.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 62 comments | permalink
    1. The building’s application surprised the committee members by only including one affordable unit in a building planned to take up approximately 276,578 square feet. That number is probably all the square feet and the entire building

    2. Ivan Stoler says:

      One unit? This is what’s wrong w/NYC today. Where does the middle class live? No parking? If this is market rate and you can afford 4-5k for a one bedroom you most likely have car as well. So, no parking exacerbates our shortage of parking and crowded streets. Construction trucks just down the block from PS 75? How are they going to make it safe for the kids? Where is DeBlasio on these issues?

      • Sid says:

        I’m glad they didn’t include parking, it’s in an extremely transit-rich area, and we’re short on space as it is. Would have liked to have seen more affordable units, though.

        • Boris says:

          In return for your getting to see more affordable units, what would you like to see the developer get?

      • Stu says:

        I know many folks who pay $4,000+ a month and do NOT have a car.

    3. CJ says:

      I don’t think it’s an unsightly building…but….
      • Who would choose to live on that corner?
      • There have been so many pedestrian deaths on that stretch from cars heading to/from the hwy – how/where are they going to park all their construction vehicles?
      • It is such a tight corner to get to/from the subway, back when I was out and about, I would stand on the street. How are they going to make that work safely?
      • That spit of sidewalk between the corner of 96 heading south toward the McDs is always tight, even in the dead of August, even with no construction. A few blocks south, the construction already taking place has Broadway blocked off to a single person lane. How in the world are they going to allow pedestrians to pass?
      • One affordable unit – that is a big FU. At that point why not deliver zero units and call it a day.
      • And, finally: no.

    4. Rob G. says:

      Love it! Glad that construction will move forward even in this environment. Hopefully the developers are right in betting on this area for successful upscale development. Can WSR provide a full photo of the architecture?

      • West Sider says:

        This was the photo they showed at the meeting. If we can get another, we’ll post.

    5. JonnyBGoode says:

      One affordable unit. What a guy!

    6. Paul says:

      What a joke. To get an extra 2,800 square feet they’re going to sell one “affordable” 800 sq ft condo?

      What does Extell need the 2,800 feet for? Aesthetics?


    7. Veronica says:

      REALLY. I’m shocked.

    8. neighbor says:

      I’m sorry, I can’t get past the headline. Read it again. It’s something you’d read in The Onion. I’d say it’s hilarious, except that it’s sad.

      • NYYgirl says:

        Absolutely right re the headline! I had to read it again to fully see what I was reading!

    9. Sherman says:

      This block has long been decrepit and this new building will clean it up a bit.

      But all this talk about lack of “affordable” apartments is nonsense (and has long been in any case).

      There is a huge glut of new apartment construction and people are leaving the city and I don’t see many new people moving in. Apartment prices and rents will likely go down significantly soon. We don’t need bureaucrats determining what “affordable” is. Let the market determine price.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        The idea that the “free market” determines housing prices in the US is a myth, a canard. If it was true, the housing industry wouldn’t have such powerful, and well financed, lobbying groups.

        These are high end condos, and thus qualify for large mortgage interest deductions. The mortgage interest deduction is the largest housing subsidy in the US, and accrues disproportionately to upper middle class and upper class people. There are numerous other housing subsidies at play here, including federal Mortgage guarantees. Interest rates in the US are not set through a free market mechanism. Zoning regulations are not a free market mechanism.

        I could go on… but you get the point. Housing policy that favors the rich at the expense of the working class is pawned off on us as “inviolable” because of the laws of the market.

    10. Puzzled says:

      “Lowenstein mentioned that the 2551 building is using the bonus space generated by 40 Riverside Boulevard building, which he said did not use all the bonus square footage allotted from its affordable housing units.”
      Huh? Can someone explain how 40 Riverside Blvd., which, at 61 St., is nearly two miles away, gets into the picture?

      • Haydee says:

        It’s really appalling. 40 riverside owned by Extell is also the building that was in the news for the “poor door” which they got reamed out for because the 40 Riverside affordable units are in a completely different building and the residents of the affordable units don’t have any access to the amenities that the other residents get. So basically they are using loopholes to just get some tax breaks, or whatever it is they get for offering affordable housing.

      • UWSConservative says:

        Transfer rights

    11. Mark Moore says:

      So all the other units are unaffordable?? Is there going to be a separate back door that the one “affordable” unit will be required to use?

    12. jean mensing says:

      Beware of Extell

    13. Paul Fischer says:

      Got screwed on affordable housing by Extell again CB7 should not approve any variances for this project

    14. Deborah 10025 says:

      Do they really think they’ll get a retailer to lease the ground floor? Look at the other tall buildings on Broadway (they were Extell too, right?)at W. 100th Street – Urban Outfitters is about to go out of business, Mandee’s next door – gone and across the street possibly another Urgent care but for how long? Meanwhile, across W. 96th where Walgreen’s had been following the departed Gourmet Garage – nothing. After this pandemic we will have more empty storefronts than ever no matter how much they want to build “a family-oriented, neighborhood-centered building.”

      • Kevin says:

        I smell another Equinox!!! Lol

      • Liz says:

        This! It looks like there’s also second floor commercial space. Granted, this was designed before the pandemic kneecapped local retail, but the writing was on the wall. Unless Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods is going in there, that building space will remain empty for a long time, if it ever rents at all.

    15. ConcernedUWSider says:

      Thank heavens. We NEED something to make this neighborhood, ESPECIALLY that stretch from 95th – 96th on Broadway, a better environment. There are a slew of schemers, hustlers & drug users ALL the time in front of McDonald’s corner bringing down this neighborhood. There is an overabundance of low-income housing in our area, more than you realize. I have researched this. We are highly sufficient in affordable housing on the Upper West Side.

      No, I cannot afford to live in this new building but I am glad others can so that something new is being built on this presently disgusting corner & they will spend money to make sure we have a thriving neighborhood.

      Right now, I can’t walk 10 feet between 95th and 96th street, without someone spitting and falling over from drugs while pan-handling. This area has gone significantly down hill over the year and you all must see it.

      Because I know there is substantial social resources on the Upper West Side with plenty of affordable and low-income housing, there is no reason for this to continue. This building will bring in revenue for our community to make it better. There is one building, out of hundreds, every 3-4 blocks going up and we need the new financial resources as well as vibrancy. There needs to be a mix of luxury, walk-ups and low-income housing for this tight knit community to thrive, for all of us.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        There are so many gross exaggerations and outright fabrications in the story of the horrors of Bway between 96th and 95th above. By the way, the street was not “decrepit” until Excel tore down the existing building, which had a supermarket and a bank. I used both frequently. gristedes was overpriced but you could find bargains and it was convenient.

        • ConcernedUWSider says:

          Did not exaggerate a thing. I encounter this every day as I need to walk the 90th – 100th streets on Broadway every day and it was happening way before they tore down the Gristedes. I encounter what I am describing every single day – it is NOT just THIS corner.

          Should small children continue to see someone slumped against a store window from getting high? I saw this at 2 pm in the afternoon on Broadway in the 90s.

          I would like to see a cleaner whole neighborhood that is vibrant. I am shocked at how little I see anyone mention this.

          Fighting a building that can house people willing to spend the money to live there and then spend money in our area to support it shouldn’t be the fight.

          I can not afford to live in this building, I make more than the “affordable lottery” amounts, I do not live in a paid off large apartment. It is my middle class income that is affected and has a hard time affording the Upper West Side yet I CHOOSE to do so because I love NYC and the Upper West Side. It would be nice to have a beautiful neighborhood that thrives now.

          Fighting one luxury building that is going up here and there is not going to save this neighborhood. Our local NYC and state government should be doing that and for the last 5 years they certainly have not been able to do so.

          • 123Train says:

            Bravo, ConcernedUWSider. It is so important to keep fighting for our neighborhood!

            FYI, the commenter that you are replying to has a long history of denigrating everyone who complains about the drug users, criminals, and mental patients people that the city has dumped on our doorsteps over the years — so his response to your original post was not unexpected.

            But more importantly – while our CM Rosenthal, BP Gale Brewer, and CB7 would rather oppose developers than address problems that affect our quality of life, it’s imperative to keep the pressure on them.

    16. robert says:

      Cue the self appointed community leaders and our local elected. Here come the petition, frivolous lawsuits etc.
      Some key points, they summitted and got approval back in Jan for their permits. They came CB7 purely out of curtesy, there is no requirement for them to do so. Why CB7 will waste their time trying to battle this building is ridiculous. Except to build the “name brand” of some people looking at their 2021 plans. This is an as of right building, the city allows you to move air rights around. The regs are similar for affordable housing. There have been several times in recent years 15 CPW comes to mind, where the developer created the needed units but in a nearby building. The intersection actual was safer before the multiple redos over the past decade, the sidewalks were narrowed as part of the 96 subway entrance redesign. You should note that only locally politically connected Symphony Space was allowed to keep there full sidewalk width. The sidewalk was narrowed from 96 to 95th street, juts back out to full width in front of them and then zigs back in just past their door.

      While I personally would not want to live on such a busy street, but these apts will, go very quickly. Extell uses high end finishes and adds the amenities UWS want. And, that number is growing. As for the comment of people moving out/glut of apts. this building will be complete in about 2 years.
      By them this will all be a bad memory.

      A little birdy mentioned to me that I should not be surprised to see a Walgreens as well as a supermarket come back. And here’s hoping Chick Fill A goes ahead with the former site on 97th.

    17. H says:

      From 96th street south has been a major crime haven since the 80s. It has never changed and is only going to increase. Fact! The blocks are unsafe and there is a school just a block away. If people moving in to the new building think they’ll get in to the school just because they live there they’d better do their homework. There are also more homeless hanging out right around there any the streets are narrow there. How will they block off for construction at a major hub off the West Side Highway and the subway? Not sure it’s been thoroughly thought through. I foresee many problems and many accidents and deaths without proper planning.

    18. Sarah says:

      One unit is more of an FU than if there were none. Geez.

    19. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      Sometimes I think we should all just leave and let the rich wait on each other.

      • Bob says:

        Well, if your life will be better if you leave the neighborhood, then you should definitely leave. But I’m not sure why you want everyone else to leave also?

    20. Chrigid says:

      and you wonder why westsiders complain.

    21. Carlos says:

      That corner is in many ways very similar to the one at 72nd and Broadway where Trader Joe’s is – tight corner at a very busy intersection. I don’t recall how they orchestrated the construction there. This one has the added challenge of being on a slope.

      You couldn’t pay me enough to live there, though I would say the same thing about the Columbia across the street and plenty of people live there (and that one is also hideous to look at). And I think that Coronavirus is going to really hit Manhattan real estate hard so this is not the time to be building a big residential building.

      Clearly there are some very bright people cobbling together these zoning exemptions. Kind of like there are countless very bright people making a lot of money looking for tax loopholes. I wish these people would do something more productive with their lives.

      • Boris says:

        Do you not understand what ‘building as of right’ means?

        If you’re so knowledgeable that this property is being developed with ‘exemptions and tax loopholes”, please share with us specifically what those are. Don’t just give me the already-mentioned ones that are pretty commonplace in NYC. Getting those doesn’t require braniacs to pore over obscure regulations; that’s just developers being very skilled at what they do. To not recognize the strategies that power such building development as ‘productive’ is sophomoric.

        • Carlos says:

          Using bonus space generated by a building a few miles away is not in the spirit of the law. All of these zoning laws are ridiculous and there is a cottage industry of people who make a living figuring out how to optimize them. There obviously have to be zoning laws but they should be simplified without so many exemptions and loopholes.

          My comment about tax loopholes did not refer to this situation but it is very similar. I know countless people who work at banks, law firms and accountancies whose sole purpose in life is to find ways to find ways to make money off exploiting tax policy. I have friends who have made millions on Wall Street coming up with clever trades that accomplish nothing but finding a profitable way to work around tax law. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I think the people who should be rewarded are those who make tangible items, teach people, heal people, etc.

          Now get off my lawn!

          • Boris says:

            The idea behind developers being able to bank bonus space for use somewhere else has been around for a while. It has been used very effectively to encourage affordable housing development in centrally-located areas where it wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Zeroing in on singular parcels causes one to ignore the bigger picture of an increased housing stock. It also ignores the creation of safer, modern, and more environmentally focused buildings that replace old dilapidated structures.

            It sounds like you should be directing your anguish about zoning and tax complexities toward the parties responsible for writing those regulations. It’s overly judgemental to be condescending of the work many people do in connection with interpreting and strategizing their behavior based on these laws and regulations.

            It’s pretty funny that you mention teachers to be more deserving than Wall Streeters. Have you paid attention to the governmental and union structures that govern their job duties and performance? As you said, you are old-fashioned to think that one has to make something tangible to be productive in 2020. We tend to hold authors in high esteem. Does an author meet your standards especially when books can be read on an electronic device? What exactly do they create that’s tangible? I’m pretty sure developers make tangible items.

    22. Elaine Zimbler says:

      Can’t we make them make some of the apartments rent to be affordable? That is a % for middle-income housing;

      • Boris says:

        Can we make you share your income with others who can’t afford what you can? Because that’s what you’re asking a property owner to do.

      • AC57 says:

        The building is as of right, so no

        Maybe if we were to let them build higher and include more affordable housing, but you know everyone would oppose that…

    23. Uwsider says:

      9k of new retail space and a luxury tower when half the retail businesses in the city are going bk and half the people with money are scoping out suburbs. hahaha.

      • Boris says:

        I think zoning on Broadway doesn’t permit residential on the ground floor so nothing would ever get built according to your logic. The developer is more interested in selling all the units than worrying about the retail space.

    24. Kevin says:

      “and West End between 96th and 97th are consistently shown to be the “most dangerous streets for pedestrians…”
      A little off topic but this would make for a nice Rag article someday. What’s been done to allegedly protect the allegedly at-risk walkers has resulted in a (pre-Covid) traffic nightmare. 8 am, and cars backed up to 106th st. Because the lights must accommodate 3 pedestrians every 5 minutes. Ridic.

    25. Ronald says:

      Having limited opportunity for affordable housing is typical for the ‘other’ side of West 96 Street…the area south of ‘the wall’ or the right side of the tracks. Manhattan Valley gets massive supportive and ‘affordable’ housing for low or no income people which furthers the blight that has existed for decades. And if one was to chart the affordable housing on both sides of West 96 Street one will clearly observe the differences between the north and south of West 96 Street. Affordable housing for middle class is available south of and what low or supportive housing that does exist is on a limited much smaller scale. ‘North of’ has no affordable housing for middle-class and yet it has endless ‘opportunity’ for people in economic and social need. This ‘opportunity’ for low-income housing in Manhattan Valley is not true opportunity in the real sense. Yes, it provides a roof over ones’ head, but the immediately community cannot provide real opportunity in terms of economic and cultural opportunities. This area ‘north of’ is an impoverished area that is clearly ‘boxed’ in by massive public housing blocks, three parks and is an area that consists of virtually no retail stores, thus it is not a destination for immediate and certainly not for ‘outside’ residents.

      • Rob G. says:

        Ronald, I agree that Manhattan Valley gets an unfair brunt of supportive housing, homeless shelters, and all the problems that come with them. But it all begins north of 86th Street, not 96th.

        • ConcernedUWSider says:

          Absolutely true. If you research this, you will see there is an incredible amount of shelters and supportive housing starting at 86th street and above. The 90’s are FULL of them. If one would take the time to investigate you will see how many. Broadway in the 90s is FULL of drug using pan-handlers and hustlers, especially on Broadway. It’s sad but there are many problems that come with supportive housing along with the very hard working honest people. We all see it on Broadway and it should not become the norm.

          This new building will help this situation immensely since the Upper West Side is already saturated with supportive housing, at least for this presently disgusting corner. I hope people will accept the new luxury buildings going up every few blocks. Their additional income will help our neighborhood thrive while there are still hundreds of walk-ups and supportive housing to keep this area fair and a mix for a full range of income levels.

    26. Maria says:

      The corner of 96th and Broadway was reasonably safe for years, wide sidewalk and no left turns. Then the unwise professional planners moved the subway entrance into the middle of broadway, so that everyone has to brave the traffic to board the train. The same crew of pedestrian killers made the sidewalk narrow to make us all live in the edge. Now this building could have built a few feet back from the building line, and allowed sidewalk users to survive. But no such luck. Actually they could have made less space for banks and just recessed the ground floor. But i am sure the developer greased the right palms.

      • Boris says:

        It’s very easy to come up with far-fetched and illegal ideas for taking away other people’s’ property rights. Are you suggesting that the law of emminent domain be applied?

        How do you tell a property owner that he has to give up his ownership rights by creating more sidewalk from land that he is entitled to build on? Can a landlord or Board force you to give up some of your apartment space in order to create a bigger hallway or storage space in your building?

      • Boris says:

        “But i am sure the developer greased the right palms.”

        This comment is so nonsensical that I had to come back for a 2nd bite. What you’re saying is that the developer had to pay someone under the table for permission to build on his own property to the fullest extent legally possible. Think for a moment how ridiculous that sounds. Can you produce even one example of anyone building a setback like you suggest without getting anything in return?

    27. R alverto says:

      1 affordable unit
      Is this a joke?

    28. AC57 says:

      This is what happens with contextual zoning – you can’t do too much with affordable housing benefits.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but aside from the Larstrand and Fetner’s project, not a single project in the Upper West Side contextual zoning districts have included much if any affordable housing (I am not counting 145 West 108th Street because that is a solely affordable project) All the new affordable housing has gone into projects below the contextual zones (the Fordham Expansion, Riverside Center, and the infamous poor door. Hell, if people were concerned about affordable housing, the illegal square footage of 200 Amsterdam could be converted to affordable housing, but that would never be on the table because it’s only about the character)

      That is the demon of contextual zoning, and the Upper West Side is chocked full of it. You get the context (hence the name) and you keep the character and aesthetic, but you lose any incentive to put any affordable housing in without requesting a rezoning. Extell could’ve requested a rezoning application, present a building that was closer to 30 or 35 stories, and go under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing protocols which would’ve resulted in more affordable housing, but I’m sure if they did that, those same people bemoaning the fact that they’re only including one sole affordable unit would be the same people saying the building is too tall.

      Am I defending their decision to include one sole affordable unit? No. It’s kinda petty. But at the same time, given the fact that it’s contextual zoning, I’m not surprised.

      What the Upper West Side should do in the future is to remove the contextual districts, and do a few things: 1. Extend the C1-8/C2-9 districts on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues between 86th and 96th Streets down to 68th and 72nd Streets respectively, 2. Turn Broadway into a C4-6 district, and 3. establish tiered height caps requiring a set amount of affordable housing requirements. The existing contextual height caps could remain as of right with the freedom to put in whatever (so up to 210 feet), up to 270 feet could require at least 15% affordable units, and up to 330 feet could require 20% affordable housing, and up to 400 feet could require 25% affordable housing (anything above that would mandate a rezoning and 30% affordable housing). No one has complaints about the “character” of Amsterdam and Columbus between 86th and 96th, i don’t know why people would be so opposed to that proposal.

      Also, Extell didn’t have to present this. This is an uncharacteristic show of courtesy for them to do that.

    29. Barbara Litt says:

      ONE??? Is that one apartment for 125 people??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? That’s disgraceful!

    30. ConcernedUWSider says:

      So after all is said and done, can we all think of a way to clean up 86th street up to 106th street on Broadway and Amsterdam?

      Aren’t you all tired of having drug users cough, spit and then ask you for money? I’m not embellishing, I see this every day, same individuals. Does anyone care?

      There are a TON of resources that the Upper West Side has provided. We have done so much for those that need assistance and it’s still not enough, and now these 20 blocks are a disgusting disgrace.

      Can everyone think of that and what it has done to our beautiful area? You all see it.

      It’s time to take care of our neighborhood now or you will all want to move away as it continues to decline.

      Again, you all see it. Does anyone care about that?

    31. rita Gazarik says:

      Why is there no discussion of a parking garage? that is most important, along with the availability of more affordable apartments. This building if it has high costs will not be filled easily after there corona virus. Where is the community board’s power?

    32. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      There is a severe affordable housing crisis in NYC. The working poor, seniors, the working clAss and even middle class people are paying ludicrous percentages of their income for housing; they are crammed into smaller and smaller spaces and often doubling up with relatives or friends, even with children; many are pushed into longer and longer commutes.

      And yet, in the comments above, many writers seem to be unconcerned with this situation, but wishing for ever more Housing for the rich.

      I find it ironic that we all are applauding “essential workers” while denying them the support they actually need. Affordable housing is at the top of this list. Do you want nurses, social workers, hospital aides, teachers, police, EMTs and others to have 3 hour daily commutes? Do you really think NYC survives and thrives without housing the people who keep it running?

      The next time you applaud essential workers at 7 PM, take a moment to think about their needs. they don’t end with applause.

      • AC57 says:

        The problem is that Upper West Siders cry for affordable housing, we acknowledge that there’s a housing crisis, and yet we hold tight to this apparatus we’ve constructed here in this neighborhood that has only worsened the crisis and deepened the economic segregation. We’ve utilized landmarking and contextual zoning as a weapon, and because of it, the very essential workers that we applaud have paid the price. While not the only drivers of home value in the neighborhood, these two factors have largely contributed to the Upper West Side becoming so expensive, and many of us push for even more stringent regulations to make it even harder to build. This is partially what drove San Francisco down their abhorrent path towards a housing crisis (although they’re several steps ahead of us). It’s not just us – other wealthier neighborhoods have used the very same tactics, and then the working-class neighborhoods, like Bushwick, Inwood, and East Harlem have rezoning proposals shoved down their throats.

        The largest projects in the Upper West Side are the ones that actually garner some affordable housing – the Fordham Redevelopment, the Aire tower at 200 West 67th Street, the Riverside South project, Waterline Square, 1 and 21 West End Avenue, the Larstrand, and Fetner’s proposal next to the Extell site – all of these buildings have in excess of 170 apartments, and yet people decry these very projects for their size. If anything, we should be getting bigger, not smaller. Extell is playing by the rules that have the neighborhood has championed.

        We need affordable housing the most between 72nd and 86th Street. That entire stretch is contextually zoned, already removing any incentive to build any affordable housing and participate in the voluntary inclusionary housing program. But even if they wanted to build, it would be nearly impossible to do so, outside of that area between Amsterdam and Broadway, and the blocks surrounding the Brandeis educational complex and PS9.

        It’s time for us to shoulder some of the burdens – loosen the restrictions, and set higher height caps, and tiered zoning, so the higher a developer wants to build, the more affordable housing they have to provide. We should be championing larger projects instead of these cookie-cutter buildings we keep on getting. It might keep the neighborhood “context” but it’s only worsening the housing crisis. Those megaprojects we’ve decried, as flawed as they are, have done more affordable housing in this neighborhood than contextual zoning and landmarking ever has.

    33. Marjorie Clarkin says:

      What is procedure to apply to this development?Thank you in advance.