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Upper West Side's tallest proposed tower faces stiff local opposition

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Residents are arguing that this is another case of “zoning gymnastics”

The former synagogue at the site.
Via Google Maps

Plans to build Upper West Side’s tallest building on the site of the old Lincoln Square synagogue at Amsterdam Avenue and West 69th Street is facing stiff opposition from local residents, Crain’s reports.

Neighborhood group, Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, has filed a challenge with the city’s Department of Building over the project at 200 Amsterdam Avenue. The group is challenging the existing zoning of the lot, which has allowed the developers to cobble together rights from adjacent properties, to build the 668-foot tower.

This week, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the City Council member representing this area, Helen Rosenthal also threw their support behind this challenge to the tower, arguing that the building is totally out of context in this part of the Upper West Side.

Earlier today, Rosenthal and Brewer organized a rally in opposition to the project.

"This zoning challenge is the community’s opportunity to be heard and to ensure that its interests are protected,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “There is reason to believe that the current proposal at 200 Amsterdam Avenue is non-compliant with the zoning code in several respects.”

A digital rendering of 200 Amsterdam showing the full length of the 52-story glass building. Elkus Manfredi Architects

The developers behind the project, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, have created a zoning lot, which in addition to the 200 Amsterdam site, includes all or parts of five tax lots on West End Avenue. This, Rosenthal argues, is all gerrymandering over one giant block.

In a statement to Crain’s, the developers maintained that “the building is being built in full compliance with all zoning.” It’s now up to the DOB to decide whether this project continues to move forward.

DDG’s condo on the Upper East Side is facing similar opposition from locals there over allegedly manipulating a zoning requirement to build a taller tower.