9/25/2020: Judge voids permits for 50 West 66th Street. Read Decision.
The Board of Standards and Appeals tied 2-2 on LW!’s Appeal on this neighborhood-changing zoning issue. Even though every local official spoke out to revoke the building’s permits, in NYC Agencies a tie always goes to the Developer. The BSA decision on 1/28/2020: “Not approval [of the Appeal] by effect of stalemate.”
TIMELINE OF FILED DOCUMENTS
This toggle offers links to documents filed. The most recent documents are on top and continue down to our history of objections. For the purposes of this list, we are LW! representing the community, and the Developer refers to the team of specialists working on behalf of Extell Development Inc. who controls the site at 50 West 66th Street. DOB refers to the Department of Buildings. BSA refers to the Board of Standards and Appeals.
Counsel is currently preparing further documents.
On Friday, November 6th, 2020, after more than NINE MONTHS, the BSA issued its written decision, available HERE.
On Tuesday, January 28th, 2020, the BSA voted 2-2 in a tie decision.
On Tuesday, December 31st, LW! filed their allowed maximum 10-page response to the Board of Standards and Appeals. These documents are HERE.
On Tuesday, December 3rd, LW! filed Supplemental Materials to the Board of Standards and Appeals. These documents are HERE.
On Wednesday, November 27th, 2019, the Developer filed their response to LW! November 6th, 2019 filing. These documents are HERE.
On Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, LW! filed our response to the DOB October 16, 2019 filing. These documents are HERE.
On Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, DOB filed their response to BSA Commission’s request of the Tuesday September 10 hearing. These documents are HERE.
On Tuesday, September 10th, 2019, the BSA ruled with decisions (HERE) pertaining to two Appeals against the Developer of 50 West 66th Street. At the same time, they re-opened the LW! Appeal previously closed on Tuesday August 6th. WATCH VIDEO.
On Wednesday, July 24th, 2019, the Developer filed a response to our May 13th 2019 filing. These documents are HERE.
On Monday, May 13th, 2019, LW! filed our SECOND Appeal of 50 West 66th Street with the Board of Standards and Appeals. These documents are HERE.
THE DOB’S Lifting of their “NOTICE INTENT TO REVOKE” constituted an agency’s Final Determination, once again leading LW! to the BSA.
After filing, the DOB initiated a Notice Intent to Revoke seeking clarity on the 161′ Mechanical Void in the middle of the building. This THIRD LOOK from the DOB halted our BSA Appeal, ultimately mooting it as the Developer pursued a re-design, unveiled April 4, 2019 in a revised ZD-1 Zoning Diagram.
On Wednesday, December 12, 2018 LW! filed our FIRST Appeal of 50 West 66th Street with the Board of Standards and Appeals. Read the Statement of Facts HERE.
THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY for the Public to have a say comes with the community-funded Department of Buildings (DOB) Challenge. This Challenge requests that the Department of Buildings revisit several factors they may or may not have considered before granting approval of the ZD-1 Zoning Diagram.
On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, the Developer filed its ZD-1 Zoning Diagram.
THE CLOCK BEGINS TICKING
After much speculation, the Developer released renderings in January 2019 reflecting their intention to build the tallest building on the island of Manhattan north of the Time Warner Center on an UWS side street. The development was self-proclaimed “as-of-right” which would mean the Community had no opportunity to comment in any public forum, be that before a City Agency or even the Community Board.
On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, the Developer filed its ORIGINAL ZD-1 Zoning Diagram. A relatively modest building for the context of the block, this did not seem unreasonable. The community did not see a need to challenge this proposed development and did not pursue a DOB Challenge at this time.
“A fascinating story about a Developer trying to squeeze a little bit more profit out of a piece of land at the expense of the neighbors.” -NY1’s Pat Kiernan has followed the fight at 50 W. 66th Street.
VIEW NY1’s SPECIAL REPORT on Zoning Loopholes and Mechanical Voids.
Shadow studies by zoning expert George Janes.
History and previous posts:
Extell initially filed plans in Nov. 2015 for an “as of right” 291-foot building.
They later switched this for new plans for a 775-foot Supertall tower.
The Dept. of Buildings rubberstamped the new plans without reading them to see that the astounding height was achieved by inserting approx. 200 feet of “mechanical void” space, abusing a loophole in the zoning resolution.
Design firm Snohetta has proposed a 39-story residential development of 775 feet–the equivalent of a 77-story midtown office tower– on the Central Park block of West 66th Street. If built according to plan, the through-block site will feature a shorter construction on the 65th Street side which will replace the former Jewish Guild for the Blind and house the relocated Congregation Habonim.
This site is a combination of several different parcels:
- 36, 38 and 40 West 66th Street: former residences turned office buildings in 1962, these were previously used for set props and storage by ABC. In 1982, a feasibility study was done for a previously proposed 38-story residential tower designed by Arthur May under A. Eugene Kohn of KPF for the Reliance Development Company. (Demolished 2017)
- 44 West 66th Street: the former Congregation Habonim Synagogue, by Stanley Prowler and Frank Faillance (1956-57, demolished 2017).
- 15 West 65th Street: Jewish Guild Healthcare Building aka Lighthouse Guild aka Estelle R. Newman City Center, by Matthew J. Warshauer (1971, demolished 2018).
plus the air rights from 56 West 66th Street, the individually landmarked, former First Battery Armory, by Horgan & Slattery (1900-03).
When The Real Deal first reported a sale on August 28, 2014, LW! began studies of what could be feasible on that site. Once reports of the acquisition of the synagogue site were confirmed, the available Floor Area Ratio (FAR) significantly increased. It was surprising, then, that permits filed in late November 2015 featured only a relatively modest 25-story residential development of approximately 250 feet. The developer’s current proposal is now more than three times as tall with 14 additional floors. In all, it will reportedly house 127 apartments.
The site straddles two zoning districts: the south side of the block falls within the R-8 zoning district, while the northern portion of the site is C4-7 which has an R-10 equivalent. This site is completely within the Lincoln Square Special Purpose District. There are no contextual zoning height limitations, and this development is being filed as-of-right, which means there are no requirements for community board input.
Manhattan Community Board 7 has issued a resolution pertaining to this development along with the proposed tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue. Read the CB7 Resolution for Amending the Zoning Regulations to address oversight of tall buildings.
Read an additional statement on Central Dark
Read through our blog updates below for more history on this critical zoning matter.
Response to LW! May 13, 2019 Filing at the Board of Standards and Appeals. The team working for the Developer submitted the following documentation: Submission Notice Cover Letter Letter Statement Statement of Facts Table of Exhibits Exhibit A Exhibit B
In CityLab, James S. Russell (with a little help from LW! Executive Director, Sean Khorsandi, who was interviewed for the article) focuses on three supertall NYC skyscrapers--including 50 West 66th Street (see Page 2 of the article below)--to reveal just how creative...
LANDMARK WEST! has been asking #isitsafe and the FDNY has just answered: "No". Is the Dept. of Buildings listening? When LW! first learned of the bait and switch at 50 West 66th Street - from a 292-foot, 25 story building to a 775-foot, 39 story building with just 127...
The Upper West Side is known for many things--but fraud? Not necessarily as EXTELL's 50 West 66th Street hasn't been named yet, but read on: Our friends at THE REAL DEAL (linked) Published "Extell's former EB-5 regional center director says Gary Barnett defrauded her"...
LW! has been hard at work. Read on for news about Yesterday, Today, Thursday, and the future of the Upper West Side! LAND USE YESTERDAY: LW! filed a new appeal against 50 West 66th St. De ja vu? When LW! filed a challenge with the Board of Standards and Appeals in...
45 West 67th Street New York, NY 10023