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Snøhetta-designed Upper West Side tower can rise, says DOB

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The city overruled the neighborhood’s challenge to the Extell development

Binyan Studios

Last year, Snøhetta revealed its designs for Extell’s Upper West Side tower at 50 West 66th Street, which were met by opposition from some local residents, along with City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal.

The argument was that the proposed 775-foot-tall tower was “out of context” for the neighborhood and City Council land use staff believed that zoning code does not permit a project this tall at the location where the building will rise. Those in opposition also took issue with the empty spaces between several floors that boosts the building’s overall height without actually adding any extra square footage, stating that this was a tactic used to make the upper apartments more profitable. However, the Department of Buildings says otherwise.

“We carefully reviewed the community challenge, but determined that the arguments therein were not valid,” said a DOB spokesperson in a statement to Crain’s New York. Ultimately, it was determined that the hollow spaces were within building and zoning codes.

If the tower is approved as planned, it will become the neighborhood’s tallest building, surpassing the planned 668-foot skyscraper at 200 Amsterdam Avenue. The de Blasio administration had said that it would crack down on structural voids, however, no new legislation that would do so has been introduced. Nevertheless, Rosenthal remains hopeful that the mayor will “make good on his promise, via zoning changes” before the 775-foot tower is approved.