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Preservationists claim small victory in fight against 668-foot Upper West Side tower

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As part of a settlement, developers have agreed to specific terms of an injunction

A digital rendering of a stone and glass tower in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. © Elkus Manfredi Architects/Seventh Art

Update: According to attorney Scott Mollen, who represents the developers of 200 Amsterdam, a court order was never issued prohibiting construction work beyond the building’s foundation. Instead, developers reached a settlement with the Municipal Arts Society and the lawsuit’s other plaintiffs, where it was agreed that SJP Properties would advise plaintiffs when foundation work was nearing completion, giving them 10 days advanced notice.

Additionally, Mollen noted that developers agreed not to cite incremental work and construction expenses incurred between now and the time that the Board of Standard and Appeals (BSA) as a right to injunctive relief, as part of the settlement.

Officials from the Municipal Art Society clarified to Curbed that the settlement was a result of their original lawsuit, and consider the temporary agreement with SJP a small victory, given that developers must keep them apprised of construction advancements.

“The settlement stipulates that the request for an injunction is in abeyance until the foundation of the building is complete. Without another agreement with the CFESD and MAS or a decision in their favor by a judge, the developer is unable to continue construction,” said MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein in a statement to Curbed.

In the mean time, 200 Amsterdam can inch forward until further notice.

A court has ordered developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America to refrain from doing any construction above the foundation for the 668-foot tower planned for 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side, following a request for emergency injunction filed by the Municipal Art Society of New and activist group the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development (CFESD) on April 27.

Construction above the foundation will not be able to resume until the Board of Standards and Appeals makes a decision on a challenge filed by MAS and CFESD, regarding the issuance of permits for the project by the Department of Buildings. The settlement also prohibits developers attempting to move forward with the project on the basis that a substantial amount of construction has already been carried out.

“The Municipal Art Society of New York and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development are pleased that we achieved our first victory this week in our legal challenge to the 200 Amsterdam Avenue development,” said the organizations in a joint statement.

The CFESD is seeking to end the project by disputing its zoning, alleging that the project isn’t compliant with current laws. Developers maintain their argument that the project does adhere to zoning codes. Curbed reached out for comment but did not immediately get a response.

The next BSA hearing is set for June 5.