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Condo Board's Lawsuit to Block Upper East Side Tower Is Dismissed

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Zoning laws, condo board, lawsuit, New York Blood Center.

The Blood Center (left) will be allowed to erect a 16-story tower on the Upper East SIde.

Aug. 26, 2022

A civil judge has dismissed an Upper East Side condo board’s lawsuit challenging the city’s decision to allow the New York Blood Center to erect a roughly 16-story life-science hub next to their apartment building, Crain's reports. Zoning laws limit buildings in the area to seven stories, the lawsuit contended. The City Council approved the zoning change by a vote of 43-5.

The 301 E, 66th St. Condominium Corp. sued the Department of City Planning, City Planning Commission, City Council and the Blood Center in March over the nonprofit’s rezoning application and the city's decision last fall to approve it. 

The Blood Center partnered with developer Longfellow to build the $750 million life-science tower as a replacement for its outdated, three-story research facility on East 67th Street. Companies in the life sciences would lease the space not occupied by the Blood Center.

In addition to its objection to the rezoning, the condo board argued that the city mishandled its environmental review of the project by not properly considering the impact of a dangerous substance escaping from a lab. But New York County Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth noted that the Blood Center’s existing facility already has a secure lab certified to handle such pathogens. 

“There is no doubt that this project will be annoying to neighbors during the four years of construction and, because it is going from three to sixteen stories, it may negatively impact neighbors’ views,” Bluth wrote in the decision. “But there is also no doubt that the facility, once finished, will benefit the community.”

Mikhail Sheynker, the condo board’s lawyer, said the court failed to consider many of the legal arguments presented. He said the board is considering “all of its legal options” in response to the decision. “Sadly, this decision may mark an inflection date in the history of our city,” he said in a statement, “but I believe that the facts and the legal arguments we set before the court will ultimately lead to a reversal of this most unfortunate and ill-advised determination.”

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