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Neighbors Not Pleased About Upper West Side Mansion Plan

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When is one century-old Upper West Side townhouse not enough for a hedge fund manager? When the one next door also hits the market. Last summer the Times told the tale of 130 West 70th Street, which was bought by the hedgie for $4.225 million. Then a group of French investors were about to purchase 132 West 70th Street, but the same buyer swooped in at the last second and outbid the foreigners, paying $4.3 million, 7.5 percent above the asking price. The intent was clear: A combination of both buildings into a 38-foot-wide megamansion. Both houses had been carved up into apartments over the years, and the Times reported the residents would be out by October. Now we're in May, and the owner is ready to merge his townhouse twins. The plans were presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission this week, and critics showed up to pan the proposal.

The application is to "construct a rooftop and rear yard addition, reconstruct a stoop and alter the front areaways," on the rowhouses, built in 1883. Curbed Intern Deanna Kawitzky took notes on what happened:

-Plans to merge townhouses; restore facade; replace stoops; add a half floor at the top; add greenery/open space at rear; essentially demolish and reconstruct the whole rear and just keep the original facade.
-Neighbors were very concerned. Landmark West: liked stoop reconstruction, hated rear facades being destroyed -- not in keeping with the Historic District. The building will be a "stage set" with a Historic facade. They will destroy history and the neighborhood! CB7 concurred. They warned LPC that it was true demolition, "sanctioned vandalism," and to not be fooled! The rep made a huge point about rich people ruining our neighborhoods with their boring and selfish greed and "cataclysmic money." The plans are "excessive and inappropriate" and the gross renovation reflects the people behind it.

-LPC wants the buildings to look like 2 distinct buildings -- and not just look like a facade. No action was taken and they sent the proposal back to the drawing board.So it looks like we'll be hearing more about this one. Here's a look at the rear facade that was shown to the less-than-enthusiastic crowd:


· A Jostling Match [NYT]
Photo via PropertyShark