Upper West Side’s future tallest building unwelcome, will be 'eyesore,' residents say

The building being constructed at 200 Amsterdam Ave. will be the tallest on the Upper West Side. Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

A building slated to be the tallest on the Upper West Side will cause overcrowding and create an “eyesore” in the neighborhood, residents say.

Construction of the 670-foot, 52-story luxury condominium at 200 Amsterdam Ave., between 69th and 70th streets, began in September after being delayed by a challenge by a community group and a Department of Buildings audit.

Nearby residents said the building, owned by SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, is too tall for the neighborhood, which primarily consists of buildings with fewer than 30 stories, and facilities in the area won’t be able to accommodate all the new residents.


“It’s going to increase the overcrowding at the subway stations. It’s going to make it even more difficult at certain times to shop at the local stores,” said Edward Reiner, 52, who has lived at the nearby Lincoln Towers for 25 years.

“It’s an eyesore,” said Susan Lynn, 72, who also lives at the 29-story Lincoln Towers. “It’s going to block all the sunlight. We chose to live on the 28th floor because it is very important to us to have light.”

“I’ve lived here for 40 years and watched the sky disappear,” Upper West Side resident Roger Wolfe, 76, said.

But more developments like this are inevitable, said Susan Singh, 49, who lives about four blocks south of 200 Amsterdam Ave.

“It’s to be expected. It’s just a matter of time before these high-rises enter the neighborhood,” she said. “As long as they have the rights, I’m not sure if anything can be done.”

The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development challenged the development in May, and following an internal DOB audit, the department prevented construction from starting in July. But the developers provided additional documentation that allowed them to move forward with construction on Sept. 27, a DOB spokesman said.

The CFESD, however, filed an appeal in October with the Board of Standards and Appeals, challenging the DOB’s approval.


The “gerrymandered” zoning lot that allows the building to be 670 feet tall is the primary issue addressed in the appeal, dated Oct. 25. The committee argues that the zoning lot was improperly formed. It combines parts of several tax lots, which are designated by the city’s tax map, instead of merging lots in their entirety.

“We feel that they did something illegal,” said Olive Freud, president of CFESD.

The committee also says the development does not meet open space requirements because the appointed open space would not be accessible to the residents of the new building. Specifically, the developers have included parking lots as part of their open space designation within the zoning lot, but those spaces are for Lincoln Towers residents and would not be accessible to residents of the new building, the committee argues.

A separate appeal, dated Oct. 27, was submitted to the BSA by the group Landmark West!, which works to protect historical districts on the Upper West Side, arguing that the development violates zoning laws.

But SJP Properties said the zoning lot meets all regulations.

“Our application for 200 Amsterdam went through an exhaustive review and subsequent audit by the Department of Buildings, which reaffirmed that the zoning and the design are in compliance,” a spokesman said. “In fact, it is the same zoning that was employed by three other completed buildings on the same block: 170 Amsterdam, 200 West End Avenue and the Lincoln Square Synagogue.

“We look forward to continuing to efficiently and safely complete a building that will be a great addition to the neighborhood. We remain committed to working closely with neighborhood and community officials throughout this process.”


The CFESD appeal was pending, as of Tuesday, the BSA said. The status of the Landmark West! appeal was not immediately clear.

With Rajvi Desai