Recreation Center 59

The 59th Street Recreation Center, which is currently closed, is being renovated and is due to reopen in December 2011. Renovations of various types have been in planning stages since late 2001, when it was recommended that work be done on the center to increase gym space and keep the center up to code. Various West Side developers have given different levels of financial commitment to renovating the center, but now developer BCRE is prepared to oversee the use of the $2.5 million proffered by the Extell Management Company to construct an outdoor park and work on an Annex north of the current location on 60th St. According to the Department of Parks and Recreation, this new building should be completed by the end of 2011. The new Recreation Center will include, in addition to a new outdoor park, a renovated indoor pool, locker rooms, and new windows and skylights. According to DNA Info, there will also be a youth activities room and aerobics and fitness rooms. The Outdoor Space Park will be constructed in 2012.

Important Information

  • In 2004, Community Board 7 and Gale Brewer began talking to West side developers Brack Capital, Cambridge, and Ginsberg (ALGEN) about the possibility of renovating the 59th St. Recreation Center.
  • Extel has offerred $2.5-3 million (currently $1 million for the 60th St. Annex and $1.5 million for the Open Space Park Project), which, in addition to the $7-$8 million earmarked by the NYC Council with the strong backing of Gale Brewer, is enough to demolish the current location, build the outdoor park and begin preparing for new construction on the current site as well as building an annex across the street.
  • Commissioner Adrian Benepe of the Department of Parks and Recreation must sign off on these plans before any can go forward.
  • The new building (the annex and the entire 60th St. building) should be completed (including furniture and fitness equipment) by the end of 2011, but a plumber will have to be hired separately to ensure staying on schedule.
  • The pool will have no lifeguards directly after construction.
  • The park/Open Space project was given approval with no comments, though many pipes and manholes must be built to sanitize and contain the water.
  • The Open Space Project bidding process should be completed by December, and construction may take up to a year.
  • There will be another meeting in October (Date TBD) about the progress on both of these projects

Potential plans for the new Recreation Center

Developer Information:
BCRE-USA
885 3rd Ave
New York,  NY  10022-4834
(212) 308-7200
Extel Management
605 West 137th Street
New York , NY
(212) 784-0026
Read more at DNA Info.

207 West 75th St.

A sliver building has been proposed at 207 W 75th St. MA Architects, the developer, has already proposed the building to the New York City Department of Buildings and been rejected, which is standard for buildings in New York. In this case, the building violates ZR 23-692, which limits the height of a building to the street width or 100′-00″, whichever is less (from http://nysarch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=57). They now send the application, with help from Filing Representative Metropolis Group Inc. and lobbying firm Capolino+Company to the Building Services Authority (BSA) to apply for a waiver. They have not yet done this, but are expected to within the month.

Tax Block: 1167
Landmark Status: None

Important Information:

  • According to Community Board 7, which handles land use within their area, the developers have not yet sent in the second application, though it should be in not too long.
  • It is entirely standard (in fact, exceptions are almost nonexistent) for the DOB to offer an objection the first time a building application is given to them. They review zoning, then send the applicant to the BSA, at which point they may decide no to proceed or may file for special waivers.
  • CB7 will not be able to hear the application until September, when they resume hearing cases from the summer.
  • The effects on passersby cannot yet be known until more is known about the building plan.
  • However, it is clear that the co-op next door will be negatively affected. The plan is for the new building to be 15 stories high, which would block the view from many windows and harm the resale value of the apartments.
Contact Information
Developer: MA Architects
Name: Morris Adjmi
Address: 45 E 20th St. 11th floor
NY, NY 10003
Business Phone: 212-982-2020
Cell Phone: 917-776-9555
Email: MA@MA.com
Filing Representative: Metropolis Group Inc.
Name: Yenin Cabrera
Address: 22 Cortlandt St. 10th floor.
NY, NY 1007
Business Phone: 212-233-6344
Cell Phone: 917-575-5756
Email: yeninc@metropolisny.com
Lobbyist: Capalino+Company
Name: James F. Capalino
Address: The Woolworth Building
233 Boradway, Suite 850
NY, NY 10279
Business Phone: 212-616-5810
Cell Phone: 917-859-6245

200 Riverside Boulevard

200 Riverside Boulevard in Lincoln Square has been developed. It takes up the entire 182 foot block front of Freedom Place.


Block: 1171

Landmark Status: None

Realty Service: Massey Knakal
Architect: Costas Kondylis & Partners

Important Information:

  • There have been 38 alleged violations, of which 16 were found to be in violation. Complaints were minor, mainly about things left in the street.
Find out more at streeteasy and NYC DOB.

2182-2186 Broadway

There have been a stretch of stores closing on the block of Broadway between 77th and 78th St. including Ruby Foo’s, the Manhattan Diner, Cosi, a Tae Kwon Do Center, Curl Up & Dye hai salon, the World of Nuts & Ice Cream.  The land is all owned by Friedland Properties, and it has been verified that they intend to build a 20-story residential building with commercial storefronts on the ground level. This building is being built “as of right”, which means that it accords with all zoning laws and therefore is not subject to discretionary action by the City Planning Commission. To find out more about “as-of-right” building, see the NYC Zoning Glossary – http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/zone/glossary.shtml. The application to the DOB was filed in February and initially rejected; however, this is a common step in the process, and the as-of-right status means that the application is likely to be accepted.


Block: 1169
Landmark Status: None

Developers: Friedland Properties
Telephone: 212- 744-3300
Website: http://friedlandproperties.com/about.cfm

Important Information

  • New York Magazine has an article about the block, arguing that it would be a tragedy to allow this block of low buildings and accessible stores to be replaced by taller, impersonal buildings. They claim it would ruin the feel of that block and indeed endanger the existence of blocks like it. The whole article is here: http://nymag.com/arts/architecture/reviews/uws-davidson-review-2011-8/
  • Several restaurants including Cosi, S. J. Kim’s Tae Kwon Do school, and Ruby Foo are already closed or are slated to close. Susie’s Nail Salon, Laile Rowe and Manhattan Diner will be closing, some because Friedland Properties informed them they would be demolished.
  • The co-owner of Manhattan Diner gave an interview (an article about it can be found here http://www.dnainfo.com/20110215/upper-west-side/upper-west-side-diner-forced-close-after-11-years) about being forced to close.
  • Friedland Properties has been accused of refusing to negotiate rents.
  • There will be 172,473 square feet of residential space and 18,689 square feet of commercial space.
  • When development begins, it is possible that there will be some inconvenience and construction on the entire block.
  • The building has received 14 complaints, mostly about after hours work and working without a permit. This has resulted in 13 accused violations and 5 found violations.
  • The property has 1 open DOB and 2 open ECB “Work Without A Permit” Violations.

Find out more from DNAinfo and the NYC DOB.

West End Avenue

Address: 508-510 West End Avenue (blk 1232, lots 64,63)
732-734 West End Avenue (blk 1243, lots 163, 63)
272-280 West 86 Street (blk 1245, lot 73)
Landmark status: No
Current Status:

Contact:

West End Preservation Society
Erika Peterson
514 West End Avenue
New York, NY 10024
epetersen.weps@gmail.com

Alan Sackman
Sackman Enterprises (Managing Agent)
Frontier Realty LLC
165 West 73rd Street
New York, NY 10023

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of site plans and status

UPDATE: 8/04/09

Council Member Brewer, other elected officials and Community Board 7 support the creation of a West End Avenue Historic District by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.  A Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing is expected to be scheduled in fall 2009.  However, the buildings at 732-734 West End Avenue are unfortunately being demolished by the owner.  A community advisory group is monitoring the demolition.  Council Member Brewer has written Landmarks Commissioner Robert B. Tierney regarding the preservation of West End Avenue’s Historic Brownstones.  The text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Commissioner Tierney:

I write to request the immediate review of landmark status for the historically significant Gilbert townhouses, located at 272, 274, 276 and 278 West 86 Street between West End Avenue and Broadway.  These four townhouses were designed by renowned 19th Century architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert (CPH Gilbert) and built in 1895 and considered to be renowned and prolific examples of the architecture of this time period.  The townhouses are built in the French Neo-Renaissance style with detailed stone facades, featuring unique rounded bays, petite balconies and intricate floral swags atop tall windows.

On December 17, 2007, I wrote a letter to you expressing my concern for the possible demolition of eleven (11) historic brownstones.  To this date, the owners of six (6) historic brownstones on West End Avenue and West 86 Street have applied for demolition permits with the Department of Buildings.  As of August 2007, two (2) demolition permits have been approved, specifically for 276 West 86 Street, one of the Gilbert townhouses, and 280 West 86 Street.

Thank you for you attention on this very important matter.  If you have any additional questions, please contact me at (212) 873-0282.

Sincerely,

Gale A. Brewer

UPDATE: 4/14/08
Council Member Gale A. Brewer demonstrated in front of 732/734 West End Avenue today in opposition to the demolition of the brownstones. Council Member Brewer supports renovation instead of demolition.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 4/8/08
According to the Department of Buildings, the owner of 732/734 West End Avenue (Alan Sackman) has applied for a demolition permit and has met all of the criteria.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 3/25/08
In response to the individual landmark status request for 272 to 280 West 86 Street, the Landmarks Preservation Commission determined the properties do not meet the criteria for designation and will not be recommended to the full Commission for further consideration.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 3/13/08
Council Member Brewer released a statement regarding the West End Avenue brownstones. A copy of the statement is provided below:

March 13, 2008 – Since August 2007 I have been fighting to save a large number of historic brownstones located in my community. These brownstones are clustered on or near West End Avenue: They are numbers 487, 508, 510, 732, and 734 West End Avenue; and 272, 274, 276, and 280 West 86 Street.

On December 17, 2007, I sent a letter to the chair and commissioners the Department of Buildings, City Planning Commission, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission detailing the threat of demolition faced by these nine (9) historic brownstones, and citing the terrible precedent and various impacts of their destruction.

Among my concerns are these: (1) the obvious threat to the historic integrity of the neighborhood; (2) the permanent degradation of the quality of life for area residents, caused by the loss of the buildings that define the neighborhood’s character, and by the imposition of massive structures intended to replace them; (3) a permanent and significant reduction in the available light, air, and other natural amenities caused by the large bulk and scale of the replacement buildings; (4) the terrible precedent set when developers can destroy a healthy, vibrant neighborhood not for its improvement but merely to maximize profit. These concerns are discussed below.

Make no mistake: This proposal for a massive removal of buildings, in a thriving and deeply established neighborhood, violates every premise of responsible development and urban planning. It poses a threat not only to the traditional, and revered, physical fabric of our neighborhood, but it poses basic and also profound questions for citizens and for government:

Why should responsible officials of city agencies allow the physical, historic, and aesthetic character of the Upper West Side to be systematically destroyed?

These brownstone treasures define the physical character that makes our community so desirable to live in, and sought-after as a setting for private life. They are an icon of dignified and elegant urban life. These brownstones are a living and irreplaceable legacy of the West Side and the city’s architectural and human heritage. They exemplify the definition of good design, materials, and planning. They are the essence of New York’s residential environment, the private face of the city’s fabric that we turn to the world. These brownstones represent the sense of self, place, and memory. We, who live here, consider these brownstones the nature of our city, our neighborhood, and our own personal history as New Yorkers.

The city should have learned its lesson from those failed and catastrophic schemes meant to deal with “urban blight.” We need to remember the deeply destructive results of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and be wary when developers, public or private, propose to destroy a neighborhood in order to save it.

The rationale for the destruction of our neighborhood’s physical character is not to redeem it, or enhance the life of our residents. It is merely to reward the callousness and greed of developers. These brownstones do not constitute a threat to any condition of health or physical safety. Nor are they nests of crime, or “blight.” Quite the opposite: they are integral to a thriving neighborhood with more than a hundred years of tradition. They are as viable, desirable, and pleasing to live in, and around, as they were during New York’s Gilded Age.

What is the benefit to the West Side from the systematic destruction of its most distinctive buildings? What burdens are to be imposed on us as a result?

First, for smart planning, there are many red flags: the overcrowded transit system and the water and sewer infrastructure on the West Side is limited, and no increases in capacity are planned. The number of hook-ups is increasing by the tens-of-thousands annually on the West Side, under the assumption that demand can be added without limit while critical resources remain static.

Second, what is the community benefit by removing these building’s historic, aesthetic, and design amenity; and simply replace them with new and undistinguished buildings of vastly larger scale, bulk, density? These new buildings will care nothing for their setting, their neighbors, and their impact.

The destruction of these buildings means that we will lose more of what makes our community a living and physical entity. We will be left with the degradation that results when our brownstones are replaced with cheap, architecturally faceless buildings. Our neighborhood is already littered with such buildings, each the legacy of yet another demolition of our historic and physical character.

Are we a city that will simply acquiesce to these things; to countenance the destruction of the physical fabric of one of our most valuable neighborhoods? This will remove, forever, the light, air and views afforded to residential neighborhoods by their harmonious, small-scale structures.

On February 20, 2008, the owner of 732 and 734 West End Avenue filed for a Demolition Permit. However, the applicant has not submitted any demolition plans. To be approved for a Demolition Permit, demolition plans must be submitted. If the Demolition Permit is approved and permitted, the applicant may begin demolition work on site.

I appeal to the city, and to all concerned citizens, to stop this horrific destruction of the West Side’s character, and community fabric. We must not allow others who care nothing for our community, neighbors, or traditions, destroy the very essence of what we call home.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 3/12/08
In response to the Request for Evaluation, 732 and 734 West End Avenue do not meet the criteria for designation and will not be recommended to the full Commission for further consideration as a New York City landmark.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 3/4/08
Council Member Brewer sent a letter to the Commissioner of Landmark Preservation Commission requesting an immediate review of landmark status for the Gilbert townhouses, located at 272, 274, 276 and 278 West 86 Street.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 2/22/08
In response to my letter to the City Planning Commission regarding development along West End Avenue, the City Planning Commission states that the current R10A zoning accurately reflects the area’s predominantly 14-17 story apartment house character. The City Planning Commission believes that the current zoning is appropriate.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 2/11/08
According to the Department of Buildings, a hold has been placed on the following properties in order to monitor the application for any permits. The following outlines the permits associated with each property.

487 West End: Interior renovation of existing basement apartment and addition recreation room in the cellar. – Partially permitted in December 2007
508 West End Ave: Demolition permit in process (NOT permitted) – December 2007
510 West End Ave: Demolition permit in process (NOT permitted) – December 2007
732 West End Ave: New building permit in process (NOT permitted) – January 2008
734 West End Ave: New building permit pre-filed in August 2007, no movement since
272 West 86 Street: No open permits
274 West 86 Street: New building plans DISAPPROVED in November 2007
276 West 86 Street: Demolition plans APPROVED, NOT permitted, August 2007
278 West 86 Street: No open permits
280 West 86 Street: Demolition plans APPROVED, NOT permitted, August 2007

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 1/29/08
According to the Department of Buildings, a “New Building” permit was issued for 732 West End Avenue. At this time, NO demolition permit has been for this address has been filed.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 12/27/07
In the December 12, 2007 edition of the West Side Spirit, an article titled “Brownstones on the Brink,” highlights the efforts by Council Member Gale A. Brewer and the West End Preservation Society to protect the neighborhood character along the West End Avenue corridor. The article also highlights other brownstones within the community which are also threatened by development.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 12/20/07
According to the New York City Department of Buildings, the owner of 508-510 West End Avenue has filed an application for a demolition permit.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 12/17/07
Council Member Gale A. Brewer sent a letter to the Landmark Preservation Commission, Department of Buildings and City Planning Commission to bring attention to possible alterations or demolitions to this and other brownstones within the district. The following is an excerpt from the body of the letter sent:

I write to bring your attention to several buildings within my district: 487, 508, 510, 732 and 734 West End Avenue, and 272-280 West 86 Street. The owner of 487 West End Ave also owns 307 West 83 Street. There are rumors of demolition or alteration proposals for these buildings. Local residents are concerned about these buildings and have asked me to officially inform your agencies that there is significant community opposition to any future plans that may include the demolition or alterations of these structures.

I feel strongly that the administration must quickly meet with Community Board 7, elected officials, and community members to discuss how to maintain the integrity of our community. As I write this letter, eleven brownstones in a twelve-block area could be permanently destroyed.

Tenants indicate that they have heard that leases will not be renewed and that an application will be filed with DHCR to allow demolishing of both brownstones, 508 and 510 West End Avenue. If the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal approves the application, both buildings can be demolished and others can be put up in their place. Both buildings have 4 flights and 10 residential units.

The current rent stabilized tenants of 508 and 510 West End Avenue are not prepared to leave their apartments. Members of the West End Preservation Society support the tenants, and advocate keeping and maintaining the two brownstones as they exist today.

The brownstones were recently purchased by Sackman Enterprises.

____________________________________________________________

150 Amsterdam Avenue (former American Red Cross)

Address: 150 Amsterdam Avenue

Block: 1158
Lot: 129

Landmark Status: No

Current Status:

Contact:

A&R Kalimian Realty
79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 751-8050

Brenda Levin, Consultant
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 840-1812

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of site plans and status


UPDATE: 2/28/08

The development is still in the pre-certification phase. The City Planning Commission is working with the developer to complete its zoning map amendment application.

_______________________________________________________________

The American Red Cross property at West 66th Street was sold to a developer who is building a 41-story rental building. The rest of this strip (i.e. north to West 70th Street) is owned by a single developer, who is beginning construction of a series of buildings along the Avenue. A third developer has completed construction of a 30-story tower on West End Avenue at West 70th Street.

In 2006 the New York City Opera was in talks with the developer to possibly relocate to the base of 150 Amsterdam, but the deal did not go through.

The American Red Cross site (lot 129) was sold to A & R Kalimian Realty for $72 million. The plans include a 45-story, 80/20 rental building, which includes a community facility as part of the structure.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: 8/04/09

On April 22nd, 2009 the City Council voted to support the project with caveats.  In addition, Council Member Brewer supports affordable housing at this site and has written Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Raphael Cestero regarding this issue.  The text of her letter is below.

Dear Commissioner Cestero:

Congratulations on your appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. I am writing in regard to an important development project in my district at 150 Amsterdam Avenue.  In 2007, the property was bought by A & R Kalimian Realty for the purpose of residential rental development, and as construction reaches its final stages, I would like to discuss the possibility of including affordable housing units.

As you may know, this building was originally owned and operated by the American Red Cross.  It was then sold to A & R Kalimian, a firm that is presently building a 41-story rental tower with community space on the first two floors. The building is going through the ULURP process because the new owners are seeking a re-zoning of the ground floor from community space to retail.

Needless to say, residents of the West Side are in need of affordable housing and this building could provide an opportunity to work toward the goals of the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. A member of my staff will be calling your office to schedule a meeting.

I appreciate your attention to this issue, and I hope that we can work together to make affordable housing at this location a reality.

Sincerely,

Gale A. Brewer

150 Amsterdam Avenue bldg