Construction in Full Swing of 22-Story Building at 96th and Broadway, and Could Take 2 Years

A new apartment building is under construction at 2551 Broadway at the corner of 96th Street, a high-traffic corner that was previously occupied by a two-story building with a Gristede’s and bank.

The development will rise 22 stories and have 130 units. A representative for developer Extell told the Community Board at a May meeting that it will have one unit that will be a part of the city’s affordable housing program. The ground floor will have just over 9,000 square feet of retail space.

The developers showed the rendering above at that meeting.

A basic sketch of the building’s mass is posted on the side of the construction barrier. It says the development is expected to be complete in the fall of 2022.


The sketch on the construction barrier.

There have been a few complaints about the construction in recent weeks, according to Buildings Department records. Some of the complaints — including one that remains active — are about construction being done outside of normal hours.

In addition, a partial stop work order was issued in August after one complainant said that an adjacent building had been undermined because of excavation of bedrock, causing cracks in an apartment.  The order was lifted in early September.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 75 comments | permalink
    1. Ivan says:

      The traffic on 96 while never great now sucks big time. No extra brownies or cops…

    2. Lydia Kidwell Sugarman says:

      ONE unit for affordable housing?
      ONE. effing. unit?!

      • Steve Friedman says:

        Wonder what Extell got in return for granting the one unit. Extell…..Do tell.

        Let’s take the WayBackMachine, shall we? It was Extell that introduced “The Poor Door.” Gee, Mr. Peabody, that wasn’t that WayBack.

        • Chris says:

          Bet they got at least a 10 year Tax abatement for that 1 unit. And if you have 1 affordable unit in your building you can get out of the new environmental laws that are coming soon. This new law will cost Co-Ops and Condos big dollars if building has no affordable units.

        • DW says:

          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……

          …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.

          • Paul says:

            Exactly. It’s about inclusionary zoning and allowable height, and has nothing to do with tax exemptions or abatements.

      • Boris says:

        Building affordable housing units is not a requirement so a developer can’t be expected to do that in return for nothing. Do you expect businesses to just give you free things?

        • Emil says:

          In exchange for many developers and large corporations not paying taxes? Yes, I do.

          • Boris says:

            You can’t substantiate that comment. But keep on perpetuating such uninformed statements. A little research and knowledge go a long way to understanding how it really works. As it stands, the developer has no legal obligation to include affordable housing no matter what other tax breaks he’s received.

      • richisgood says:

        Ya want affordable housing?
        Get a job, make $$$ and buy or rent it.

      • Jan says:

        My sentiment exactly! I hear nearly 4O% of the present
        newly completed constructions are not rented/sold
        Good luck. Although it might make the corner look better

      • Kim says:

        That struck me too. One??? ONE Unit of affordable housing??? Seriously???!!

    3. Rob G. says:

      It will partially block our view but we are excited about this building! Will go a long way to help clean up this area and provide a much-needed lift in property values.

      • RB says:

        oh yes, just what we need…a lift in property values in NYC. At least they gave 1 affordable housing unit..at least that’s better than peanuts, barely.

        • nemo paradise says:

          Absolutely! Falling property values are the hallmark of every great city. Think Detroit!

          • RB says:

            Got to love reading the divide in UWS and Manhattan, it’s the haves and have nots and it continues to become worse over the years. Most of the haves on this board have been insulated in their upper rich side for so long they forgot what it’s like to be a human based on the other comments we’ve seen lately.

      • Paul says:

        what makes you think it will “clean ” up the area, you’re right across from a busy subway hub with a small area with benches and plenty of homeless in the area.

    4. SAlly CAmpbell says:

      One affordable unit out of 130? Did I read that right?

    5. good humor says:

      1 “affordable” unit out of 130 units is straight up LOL

    6. Mark Moore says:

      Construction’s also started on the new building on the north side of 96th near CPW.

    7. CrankyPants says:

      Hooray!! Gentrify that area ASAP!!!

    8. Penelope Pi-Sunyer says:

      Horrendous that the developers can include only ONE unit of affordable housing out of 130 units. How did EXtgell get away with this?

    9. Norm Zinker says:

      Does the “one” affordable unit have a private entrance, a hall door painted red and a separate mail box area?
      Can’t get too close can we?

    10. Josh says:

      Venting time… These guys work from 7am till 5:30pm every day, and some Saturdays. Farewell, sleep and peace. Our building vibrates (sometimes so that items dance around my kitchen and desk) from the incessant pile-driving into bedrock. The worst seems to be over, but it has been months of nerve-shattering noise and vibration. All in a time when we must work from home!

    11. RWC says:

      Did I read that correctly?
      Only One unit will be for affordable housing?
      That’s insulting .
      How is this affordable housing problem ever going to be solved.
      Working class people are the life make the city what it is. The privileged rich still need working stiffs to make the city run.

    12. RWC says:

      The great thing about this part of the Upper West Side is that it will never be only white, rich and fully gentrified even with new shiny buildings . And we have a few going up one on 95 and 90th.
      We have New York City housing projects throughout the 90s and hundreds and plenty of Mitchell Lama co-ops on Columbus Avenue !
      It creates a wonderful diversity socioeconomically and racially and class In this part of the UWS.

    13. denton says:

      I bet the affordable apt is in case there is another lockdown. THey will be able to continue construction since the affordable apt makes the development ‘essential’

    14. B.B. says:

      Ironically on Upper East Side Extell demolished entire block on First between 79th and 80th many months before final assemblage of this project was even complete.

      That lot sits empty still with Extell telling local CB recently it has no plans for development atm.

      • lynn says:

        I lived on 78th and 1st for 20+ years. Everyone I knew moved away and I haven’t been back there for nearly 10 years. Could you tell me which side of the street was demolished?

    15. ST says:

      Part of DeBlasio’s Upper West Side giveaway to developers no doubt. Ugly architecture in the midst of beautiful pre wars. Will the units be rented or is it more money-laundering sales to overseas investors? If the latter, let’s see how that works out for the developer.

      • Ken says:

        And people (including my relatives) across the country shake their heads at our collective NYC cynicism. We earned it, sorry.

    16. Wijmlet says:

      One unit?

      AND it’s ugleee

    17. Otis says:

      Even one “affordable” apartment is one too many.

      Extell likely received massive 421-A tax breaks for providing this one apartment.

      This is tax revenue the city desperately needs.

      • Boris says:

        One affordable apartment does not trigger “massive” tax breaks as you would like others to believe. Everything you need to know about the 421a tax abatement program is readily available and is not in line with your comment.

        • Otis says:

          Please provide link to source that proves I’m incorrect.

          • Paul says:

            The “link” you see IS Section 421-a. It’s dense but it’s readable and if you read it you’ll see that you need at least 20% affordable to qualify, in many cases more than 20%.
            But it is quite funny that you would cite a statute, readily available on line, then ask for a “link” to prove what the statute says when you could, oh, say, maybe,

            read it.

            • Boris says:

              I don’t know what link you’re referring to but from what you say, I think that is for the old 421a (15) program that ended in 2016. The minimum percentage of units under the new 421a (16) program is 25%.

              But none of that applies to this building since it’s not eligible for benefits under the Homeownership requirements that I’ve posted below in my other comment.

            • Otis says:

              OK, so provide this link and provide the specifications for this building on 96th Street.

            • Paul says:

              Boris, the rewrite of 421-a is very complex and has different requirements by size, location, etc. The low threshold remains 20% affordable, which is enough to disprove the silly claims made by Otis and others here who would rather be angry than informed.
              While it’s likely that this project would have to have 25% affordable to qualify for the tax abatement but that doesn’t matter. It’s clear from the most cursory review of the law that this is not a 421-a building.

              Otis, you are doubling down on ignorance.
              YOU cited 421-a, which you obviously know nothing about. Your insistence that your uninformed remarks need to be “proven incorrect” is absurd.

          • Boris says:

            https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPT/421-A

            (xxxvii) “Homeownership project” shall mean a multiple dwelling or portion thereof operated as condominium or cooperative housing, however, it shall not include a multiple dwelling or portion thereof operated as cooperative or condominium housing located within the borough of Manhattan, and shall not include a multiple dwelling that contains more than thirty-five units.

    18. tailfins says:

      It’s fascinating to see people actively affirm their ignorance and laziness in these comments.

      There’s a link the in the article to more information. Yet, people feel they need to write a comment instead of reading more.

      • Boris says:

        You put it better than I ever could have. Not only are they ignorant and lazy when it comes to understanding the subject matter but they also have an agenda that facts won’t derail.

    19. Howard says:

      Oh great, an additional 9000 sq ft of retail space to sit empty endlessly like every other storefront in the neighborhood

      • B.B. says:

        Ground floor retail is required via zoning, that cannot be changed.

        There is some who want zoning changed so that existing ground floor retail and or where zoned for new construction could be perhaps turned into residential.

    20. Sally says:

      And what about parking? Will there be a garage in that building for the additional population? Or is the plan to just make neighborhood street parking even harder to find, opening the door for existing garages to raise prices even higher?

      • Jay says:

        Why would anyone need parking in that building? It’s right across the street from an express subway stop.

        If per chance, decide to park on the street, they are entitled to a spot as much as anyone else.

        • Nevets K says:

          Why would anyone need a bicycle in that building or an electric bike lane anywhere near that building?
          It’s right across the street from an express subway stop.

      • Ellen says:

        If they don’t rent the commercial space, leaving it empty as is the norm, they should be required to make it a parking garage.

      • Paul says:

        Post-COVID it seems likely that a developer building for people who can afford second homes, and cars, would want to put in a garage or have one nearby.

        But given the location and the amount of traffic it’s hard to see a garage at that location.

        Extell has a reputation for good decisions but if you look at some of its more recent projects, inclusive of a colossal error that’s about 800 feet tall at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, it may be running out of luck.

    21. Carlos says:

      The developers better hope the market picks up because it is very soft right now, and I don’t know why anyone with the money to afford the prices they are hoping to charge would want to live there. It is a very busy intersection – there is plenty of similar new construction in better locations (I personally wouldn’t want to live in any of these new construction buildings, but to each his own).

      The increase in traffic and congestion due to this construction is yet another reason why they need to re-open West End. The open streets project was a noble goal but its time has passed. People can walk on the sidewalk or walk a block west to a beautiful part of Riverside Park if they need more space.

    22. Look around says:

      I don’t even care whether 22 stories is a legal number. I feel secure in my opinion that it’s an *inconsiderate* number, and that’s enough. Extell at it again.

      • Jay says:

        Yes.. look around. A modestly sized building next door to other modestly sized buildings in an area with great public transportation. The horror!

    23. Jean Luke says:

      I applaud new development when the architecture is good. I find most of the new buildings built on UWS recently have been very nicely designed and the entire area seems to benefit. Sidewalks cleaner and nice plantings etc.

      Its a far cry from the new buildings built in the 1960’s and 70’s which had so many ugly white buildings that were too large in size for the streetscape. I hope the city allows more sensible development on UWS with hopefully more affordable units as well.

    24. witness says:

      Another waste of an opportunity to make more affordable apartments instead of more luxury ones.

      My 100+ year old building was built as luxury units and less than 20 years after it opened, during the height of the Great Depression, it went bankrupt—three times. It was only after reconfiguring the floors to allow for smaller, more affordable units, that it became solvent again for the long-haul.

      This floor plans for this building at 96th could easily be reconfigured at this phase into smaller units. Instead, we’ll probably get a luxury behemoth that will sit empty for ten years along with all the other luxury behemoths—and do nothing for middle-class residents and families who need decent housing at a fair cost.

      • Boris says:

        There is nothing logical about using prime real estate locations for inclusionary affordable housing. Developers don’t need the bonus square footage in projects that are going to be highly profitable. Which is why you see more affordable housing units in non-prime locations. If affordable apartments were offered in 2nd or 3rd tier locations, would they not live there?

        • Paul says:

          In the current economic climate and given the near term realities of New York it’s likely that many in-progress condos will end up as rentals, and yes, some will be reconfigured for smaller units.

          The Gehry building on Spruce Street near City Hall was started as a condo but during the 2008 recession it was converted to a rental (very successfully, btw).

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          there’s nothing LOGICAL, in terms of human need in NYC, of constructing even more super-high end units. “Witness” makes the case very clearly above.

          The developers might not even make any profit on this! And thus the public will in effect subsidize it through tax credits spread out over profitable buildings. See Donald Trump.

          The private sector has failed miserably and completely in constructing affordable housing in NYC for decades. It is a classic market failure. The only way large amounts of AH have been constructed is through direct public sector and/or pension fund involvement. Mitchell Lamas, for example, or other forms of subsidies.

          • Boris says:

            In terms of human need in NYC, there IS demand for these types of units. They may not be selling at a pace that you require to deem them popular but the developer has a different vision than you.

            I still haven’t heard you comment on why affordable housing has to be built in prime areas of the City. What’s the matter with living in more affordable Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens?

            You’re going to complain no matter what developers do. If they develop in a non-prime area, then we’ll hear complaints about gentrification. That’s what killed the Amazon project in Queens and the expansion of Industry City in Brooklyn.

            • RB says:

              Boris, when is the last time you got out of your penthouse and went to look at prices in brooklyn or queens lately? Many have been priced out and pushed in just the past few years after living there for years where they have family and friends. but it doesn’t matter to you, i get it. as long as zabar’s is around everything is okay.

            • Boris says:

              @RB – there’s plenty of more affordable housing in Queens and Brooklyn (and Bronx) but people want to be near Zabars while someone else pays their way. There’s also plenty of such housing outside the City in Connecticut, NJ, Westchester, & Long Island. Why can’t they commute like many others do? Many well-to-do people commute longer distances daily.

    25. Dobs says:

      If people want to spend a few mil to live in that area then enjoy that! lol good luck.

    26. charles becker says:

      It is a vote of confidence in the city of New York that the developer is going ahead with the project.

      I guess if the real estate market in nyc collapses they can turn it into a hotel for the homeless.

    27. good humor says:

      How specifically is this building good for the community?

      • B.B. says:

        Let me count the ways….

        First a squat “taxpayer” building is being replaced with larger. That will equal more revenue in real estate and other taxes. This in turn benefits city and residents in area. Especially those who own and will see their values increase.

    28. Shirley Ariker says:

      If ever we needed proof of how corrupt the relationship between the construction business and the city government is here it is in bold print!

    29. B.B. says:

      Article in WSR back in May 2020 answered many of the current questions or comments.

      https://www.westsiderag.com/2020/05/21/proposed-22-story-building-at-96th-and-broadway-will-have-one-affordable-unit-developer-says

      Building is being done “as of right”, but for various reasons Extell decided to avail themselves of a small portion of inclusionary zoning bonus.

      My guess is this building likely will be a condo, not rental; thus the small (ok nearly nil) number of “affordable” units.

      Very few affordable units are built in condo buildings. Numbers just don’t work out for developer or city. The latter often has to pony up steep subsidizes not just to developer but to potential buyer.

      • UWS_lifer says:

        B.B., I have always been one of your biggest fans around here. Love your insightful and intelligent posts.

        You should have your own real estate column on here. I think it would be a big hit…maybe not as big as Pupper West Side but who can compete with that?:)

        • B.B. says:

          TY;

          Nearly everything one says comes from information that is already out there if people would look.

          Affordable condo or co-op units are a nightmare for city for several reasons off the bat.

          100 Barrow in West Village in addition to subsidies given developer, city also kicked in down payment assistance and other goodies for lucky lottery winners who didn’t have means to buy. This IIRC is common with other such developments.

          Even if a unit goes for well below market (say $100k), how many low income or middle class households have about $20k lying around in cash for down payment?

          https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160418/west-village/90k-studios-could-be-part-of-west-village-co-op-development/

    30. Tom Siracuse says:

      The world economyis collapsing, so where does the developer expect to get buyers for these luxury condos?

    31. B.B. says:

      Back during economic upheavals of 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s, and certainly after 9/11/01 everyone was saying city’s RE market was doomed and running for the exits.

      They were met on their way out by others who bought and came into city. Those households were rewarded with an excellent ROI in that their apartments are worth a good bit of money today.

      This building won’t be finished for about two years. World, national and local NYC economies will likely look vastly different by then.