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Huge League Majority Votes To Take Extell Cash For Air Rights

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Efforts to woo Art Students League members to vote against a transaction—in which developer Extell would pay the school $31.8 million in order to cantilever part of its superscraper over its landmarked building, 290 feet up in the air—have failed. The Observer reports that last night ASL members voted 1,342 to 227 to accept the cash for its air rights, despite concerns from factions within the membership regarding (human and architectural) safety during construction and beyond. Detractors also tried to stall the vote a bit to give people more time to mull their options.

The main argument for the "vote yes" camp, which apparently proved extremely compelling, was that whether or not a majority of League voters approved the air rights sale, Extell was going to build its 74-story, 1,423-foot Nordstrom tower anyway. The tower at 217 West 57th would just be un-cantilevered and taller, and the school would get nothing. The ASL, a 130-year-old institution housed in the handsome French Renaissance-style American Fine Arts building that is known for offering affordable classes, plans to use the money to upgrade and expand its facilities. Extell, for its part, is now free to begin construction. Yup, that means more cranes for 57th Street. Is everyone excited?
· Art Students League Approves Extell Cantilever [NYO]
· Art Students League Vote On Extell's Cash-For-Air Rights Is On [Curbed]
· Art Students League, Divided Over Extell, Set To Vote On $25.8M [Curbed]
· All 217 West 57th Street coverage [Curbed]

217 W 57th St

217 West 57th Street, Manhattan, NY 10019