The once-mighty New York real estate powers have taken some major hits lately. First came last year's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which stung rental landlords and had unintended fallout for co-op boards and some condo unit-owners. Then the Inwood rezoning was put on hold, to the dismay of developers who saw unlimited opportunity at the top of Manhattan. More recently, a judge took the extraordinary step of ordering the developer to lop the top 20 stories off a nearly complete luxury condo tower at 200 Amsterdam Ave. on the Upper West Side.
Now, Crain's reports, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has nullified City Planning Commission approvals for the plans by JDS Development Group, Starrett Development, L+M Development Partners and CIM Group to build three towers that would bring roughly 3,000 apartments to the Lower Manhattan waterfront neighborhood known as Two Bridges. Engoron ruled that city planners needed to undertake a more thorough review before granting the permits the project requires.
In the case of Two Bridges, city planners grouped the three developments together and declared the project could be built as-of-right, allowing the companies to forgo the city's lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. The developers won the de Blasio administration over by including about 700 rent-restricted apartments, pledging $15 million toward two playgrounds and a park and offering $40 million to upgrade the East Broadway subway station.
But local representatives weren't convinced. Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Borough President Gale Brewer want the project to be reviewed by the council and took the fight to the courts. In August, Engoron ruled in favor of the council and said the project must go through ULURP. The city is appealing that decision. One of the lawsuit's organizers said the decision was "an amazing" victory. "From the [Inwood] rezoning to the tower planned to shadow the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the people are taking the city to court, and we are winning,” said Tony Quey Lin in a statement.
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