Community Board 7 only has an advisory vote when it comes to the land-use review phase of Riverside Center, but that hasn't stopped the group from laying down the law and telling developer Extell how the Upper West Side megaproject should look. If you recall, Extell wants to take the parking lot on the 59th to 61st Street side of its Riverside South neighborhood and build five towers (with 2,500 apartments and a 250-room hotel), oodles of retail (including a movie theater), a school, a car dealership, an 1,800-space underground parking garage and more. We knew this fight would be a testy one, and the list of complaints regarding the plan is long. But for every problem, there's a suggested fix, like eliminating a whole building! Extell will be cool with that, er, right?
In an e-mail alerting constituents to two upcoming public meetings on the plan, CB7 lists a number of "community concerns" about Riverside Center, including its design "as an exclusive enclave built on a 'podium' not integrated with the urban grid," its excess of parking and lack of affordable housing, its not-very-green auto dealership and its public space that is "not welcome, accessible or useful to the public." For that latter issue, and a few others, CB7 recommends removing the 31-story Building 4 from the design (the shortest of the proposed towers). The board would also like to see Riverside Center built at grade, so that West 60th Street can be extended to Riverside Boulevard, instead of becoming the big slip-n-slide Extell has planned.
There are other requests as well, such as that 20% of the apartments remain permanently affordable, but we have a feeling Extell boss Gary Barnett has already stopped reading, so we'll wrap it up. Here CB7's before-and-after comparison:
· Riverside Center coverage [Curbed]
UPDATE: The West Side Spirit filed a report about the first Community Board 7 meeting regarding Riverside Center, which Gary Barnett attended, and warned, "We know there’s going to be input going forward. We welcome that. There's only so much we can give up." Like 31 floors?