Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Wave of Construction Hits West Side, Making It �Hottest Neighborhood�

Subject: Wave of Construction Hits West Side, Making It �Hottest Neighborhood�
Date: 5/31/2005 7:54:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: kitchen@hellskitchen.net
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Publication: The New York Sun; Date:May 31, 2005; Section:Front
Page; Page:1

Wave of Construction Hits West Side, Making It �Hottest Neighborhood�
By JULIE SATOW Staff Reporter of the Sun

A wave of construction is crashing onto the Upper West Side, bringing
12 planned or proposed developments to an 11-block stretch between 59th and
70th streets, according to the civic group Coalition for a Livable West Side.

The new buildings include Fordham University�s proposed
2.4-millionsquare-foot expansion along Amsterdam and Columbus avenues and a
35-story glass tower on a one-acre parcel at 59th Street.

�We can support this growth,� the chairman of the land use committee
for Community Board 7, Richard Asche, said. �Historically speaking, the
Upper West Side has nowhere near the population it did in the 1970s and

�This could be the hottest neighborhood in New York right now,� a
community activist and head of Friends of West-Park,Tom Vitullo-Martin, said.

�Those who oppose the developments are mostly neighbors who don�t want
their light and air blocked, but these neighbors are usually in tall
buildings with lower buildings next door that are getting built up,�
Mr.Vitullo-Martin, who also serves on Board 7�s land use committee, said.
�It is important to remember that nobody has a right to a view.�

Some community members are concerned that the building boom will lead
to increased traffic and construction noise.

�There will be an awful lot of construction in a very small area,� the
vice president of the coalition, Batiya Lewton, said.�The traffic will also
increase, and it is already backed up along West End Avenue.�

Developers are drawn to the neighborhood because of market conditions,
not the rezoning of the far West Side passed by the City Council earlier
this year, Mr. Asche said.

�It has to do with the fact money is relatively cheap, so construction
is doable, and apartments are scarce,� he said. �� Zoning usually follows
what is happening in the market, not the other way around.�

Some developments are more popular than others. Insiders said the
redevelopment planned by Fordham, on a �super-block� between 60th and 62nd
streets, could face heavy community opposition. One problem, according to a
community leader who wished to remain anonymous, is that the school is
asking for waivers for restrictions that were put in place to prevent
�overbuilding� of the neighborhood.

The university is planning at least 10 buildings, including a 60-story
apartment tower, on the superblock. The expanded campus would accommodate
more than 10,000 students.

At the same time, community leaders express enthusiasm about a plan
for redevelopment at Lincoln Center. Officials of the arts complex have
proposed a new fa�ade for Alice Tully Hall, a new restaurant, and the
widening of the sidewalks along 65th Street.

American Continental Properties is beginning construction this summer
on two buildings between 69th and 70th streets on West End Avenue after a
plan for a 70-story tower, which would have used the air rights from the
nearby Lincoln Towers development, fell apart.The new buildings will have
26 stories and 15 stories. The developers are also proposing an
�as-of-right� 21-story residential building between 67th and 69th streets.

Two buildings are under construction at 61st Street between West End
Avenue and a new street, known as Freedom Place South. The two buildings,
which are part of Donald Trump�s Riverside South development and are built
by the Atlantic Development Group, will house 211 rental units and 120
studio apartments for senior citizens.

The home for senior citizens, at 33 West End Ave., will be run by the
Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty and will be
100% �affordable.� It will also include more than 8,000 square feet of
retail space.

Other developments include a 31-story tower with 300 market-rate
condominiums at 59th Street, and a 20-story tower at 60th Street byTouro
College for Women that will include student housing and 95 luxury
residential units.

At 245 W. 69th St., LHL Realty is hoping to build two residential
buildings, one of 30 stories and one of 15 stories, which would have as
many as 515 residential units and parking for 185 cars. The plan will need
to go through the city�s Uniform Land Use Review Process.

Another developer, A&R Kalimian Realty, has proposed to rebuild the
former American Red Cross building at 66th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. The
developer is negotiating with the New York City Opera to be a tenant.

Also, two hotels in the neighborhood are to be redeveloped: the
Mayflower Hotel at Central Park West between 61st and 62nd streets, and the
Radisson Empire Hotel at Columbus Avenue between 62nd and 63rd streets.
Within the Lincoln Square special zoning district, the Mayflower Hotel can
be built to a height of roughly 31 stories. It is eligible, however, for a
20% inclusionary housing bonus, which would allow additional stories in
return for construction of some units of �affordable housing.� While no
plans have been released, a building at 210 W. 102nd St. is thought to be
the site for the �affordable� units, according to the Coalition for a
Livable West Side.

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