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668 Feet High on the Upper West Side

Real Estate Developments

A unique new development, by SJP Properties in collaboration with Mitsui Fudosan America, located at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side will be the neighborhood’s tallest building reaching 668 feet, amounting to 55 stories. The site, which was formerly the Lincoln Square Synagogue, was purchased by SJP Properties in 2015 for $275 million. Earlier this year developers faced “stiff opposition from local residents”[1] as the neighborhood group, the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, filed a zoning challenge with the Department of Building. The group argued that the developers’ plans did not comply with zoning codes as they purchased neighboring air rights and that the height of the building was inappropriate. SJP acquired roughly 100,000 square feet of adjacent land, which technically under zoning regulations permits the building to reach up to 70 stories.

After a halt in construction due to the zoning challenges, the DOB permitted SJP to continue its construction in September 2017. SJP had to re-file their proposal and address certain issues that were brought up by the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, such as Open Space requirements. The developers, wanting to mend the tension in the neighborhood, stated:

“Following a thorough review and audit of our application for 200 Amsterdam, the New York City Department of Buildings has determined the zoning for the site is valid and that the building’s design complies with the zoning in all aspects … We look forward to delivering a world-class building, and working closely with the local neighborhood and community officials throughout the construction process.”[2]

So what is in store for the former synagogue? The development will be a luxury condo building and will be completed by 2020. Exteriors will be designed by Elkus Manfredi, a Boston firm that typically does commercial rather than residential work, and the interiors will be designed by CetraRuddy, a New York firm who is also designing the new Lincoln Square Synagogue. The exterior of the building will be made of mostly glass, creating an abundance of natural light for all 112 apartments. The building is conveniently located near transportation and will attract more buyers to the Upper West Side. Extell is also in the process of developing a skyscraper a couple of blocks away from 200 Amsterdam – the two projects may be in competition with one another as to which building will be the tallest on the Upper West Side.

Access visual renderings of the new designs here.

[1] Warerkar, Tanay. (May 16, 2017) “Upper West Side’s Tallest Proposed Tower faces Stiff Local Opposition.” Curbed New York. Available at: Accessed on Dec. 20, 2017.

[2] Walker, Ameena. (Sept. 27, 2017) “Upper West Side’s Forthcoming Tallest Tower can Move Forward.” Curbed New York. Available at:  Accessed on Dec. 20, 2017.

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