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Contentious Central Park West Church Conversion Is On Hold

The developer for the project may not move forward after all

Well, that was fast. Just a day after reports surfaced that the church-to-condo conversion at 361 Central Park West was delayed, it now looks like the project may be dead in the water. Citing "a source," YIMBY reports that the developer, named as 361 Central Park West LLC (but, per DOB filings, associated with Brooklyn developer Joseph Brunner) has withdrawn plans for the project, which would have brought 35 apartments to the former Upper West Side Church.

The reason for the change: the developer anticipated a rejection from the Board of Standards and Appeals, which would have had to sign off on the the project before work could proceed. Per YIMBY:

As for those waivers, the developer was seeking them those on the basis of five hardships. As we reported back in early December, the first was that there are unique physical conditions, including irregularity, narrowness or shallowness of lot size or shape, etc. make it impossible to comply with existing zoning. Second, that those physical conditions mean that there is no possibility of a reasonable return under current conditions. Third, that if a variance is granted, it "will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district." Fourth, that the hardships are not the applicant’s fault. Fifth, that the variance sought is the minimum required to achieve reasonable return on the property.

So there's that.

Curbed has reached out for comment; we'll update with any information.

UPDATE: Mitchell Korbey, a land-use lawyer who's working on the project, has confirmed that the developer has withdrawn its plans for the time being, but that "additional information" has come to light and that they plan to resubmit to the BSA soon. This won't include additional changes to the design, which has already been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to Korbey, the developer is determined to have the church used for residences, and intends to make it clearer that this is the best use for the building.