New permits are up for a long-stalled project at 8 West 70th Street, which is being developed by Congregation Shearith Israel; the building has faced an ongoing battle from local NIMBYs. The architect of record is Platt Byard Dovell White, and the firm’s website has renderings of the planned design.
The tenacity of the neighborhood NIMBYs is evident from their website opposing the development, which looks to have been made in 2003; it has been continually updated with incoherent ramblings and frequent typographical and grammatical errors, but the ultimate motive against the Congregation’s mixed-use expansion appears to be the potential loss of views from a neighboring structure, at 18 West 70th Street. Opposition to the development hinges on it being an “inappropriate condominium tower,” when in reality it will only stand nine stories tall, and will in fact be significantly shorter than typical buildings on West 70th Street.
A presentation by Grubb & Ellis has ample photographic evidence of the decrepit old structure that the new 8 West 70th Street will replace; it also includes images of the ‘views’ to be blocked, which are already obstructed by rooftop equipment atop Congregation Shearith Israel. The motives behind the neighborhood opposition are obviously selfish, and entirely centered on preserving perspectives that were already partially obstructed; how any nine-story development in New York City could be considered a tower is insane, especially in a neighborhood as dense as the Upper West Side.
PBDW’s design for the new 8 West 70th Street is aesthetically superior to many surrounding buildings, and despite its ‘contemporary’ design, it will fit into its pre-war surrounds with ease. The expansion will enhance the street-wall along West 70th Street, while also providing Congregation Shearith Israel with much-needed space on the structure’s lower floors.
The previous new building permits were disapproved in June of last year, but indicated that 8 West 70th Street would have 41,565 square feet in total; 21,551 square feet will be split between four residences, with the top two floors to be dedicated to a duplex. Each of the other units will span an entire floor, as well, with additional details available on the project’s Schedule A.
While the Upper West Side generally lacks ultra-luxe developments outside of its southern bounds, 8 West 70th Street could be a contender for some of the most expensive residences in the neighborhood. No completion date has been announced, but given the new filings, construction appears to be imminent.
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