200 Amsterdam Ave. development can go ahead even as BSA deliberates about whether the project violates NYC zoning code

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200 amsterdam ave rendering
200 Amsterdam Ave. rendering (Elkus Manfredi Architects/Seventh Art)

Work on a 51-story residential  tower at 200 Amsterdam Ave. in New York City’s Upper West Side can continue as the Bureau of Standards and Appeals (BSA) deliberates—for the second time—on whether the building’s plans violate the city’s zoning code.

A state supreme court judge rejected a request for a temporary restraining order for the 668-ft. structure, filed by the Municipal Art Society of New York and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, to halt construction, allowing work to continue on the building as the BSA undergoes a court-order reevaluation of the project’s zoning footprint, Curbed New York reports.

SJP Properties, a developer beyond the project, praised the court ruling on April 30.

“We are pleased that the court has dismissed the opposition’s request for a (Temporary Restraining Order) at 200 Amsterdam, consistent with previous decisions in favor of the development by the Department Of Buildings, the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Supreme Court of New York,” said a spokesperson. “We remain focused on making continued progress on construction to deliver this exceptional building to the neighborhood.”

Condo project opponents believe  the building’s zoning lot is “gerrymandered” beyond what is actually allowed by city code and have fought to stop construction as the project undergoes further review. In March, the state supreme court ordered the BSA to re-review the project—despite the board ruling in July that the plans are compliant with the city’s existing zoning laws. But critics say that new survey may be too late as construction on the building barrels forward, Curbed reports.

“I’m disappointed that the court did not stop construction at 200 Amsterdam, which has already exceeded the height that a traditional zoning lot would allow,” Curbed quoted Manhattan Borough president Gale Brewer as saying. “The BSA needs to decide on this issue quickly—we cannot continue to be in limbo while the developer builds more floors.”

City Council member Helen Rosenthal’s office, who represents the Upper West Side and is another vocal opponent to 200 Amsterdam Avenue, said the BSA must prioritize a swift review of the project or “delays could make an illegal project inevitable.”

“All focus now must be on expediting the BSA’s review of the project,” said Sarah Crean, a spokesperson for Rosenthal. “This should not be allowed. No developer should be permitted to violate zoning law—it undermines what is supposed to be a transparent and consistent land use process across the city.”

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