New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Having a stake in the building might be the best criterion for board service.

How far can a co-op board go to keep the building secure?

How To Keep an Elevator Overhaul on the Up and Up

Written by Matthew Hall on June 10, 2016

Upper West Side

“Compassionate” financing was the key to success for one co-op.

The Social Room Goes Ka-Boom

Written by Paula Chin on May 20, 2016

Upper West Side

Community rooms in co-ops and condos are morphing from frumpy to fabulous.

Discrimination case ends with court ordering apartment sold for $12.5 million.

The century-old Belnord will be the neighborhood’s second priciest condo.

For president Eric Walsh and other members of the activist board at 252 West 85th Street, a 10-story co-op, it was a double play: by converting the building’s heating system from oil to gas, the board could not only save energy, it could also free up space, possibly for a gym or a meeting room.
For Peter Varsalona, a partner in RAND Engineering & Architecture, the relatively straightforward job of converting the heating system ended up as a waiting game with Con Ed. Approval by the utility for the conversion would be the culmination of a 16-month adventure to cut energy costs and add an amenity. “It takes a very long time for a building to get gas service in these conversions,” Varsalona says. “You pretty much have to do everything and then wait for Con Ed.” 

A long-delayed plan to turn the landmark Christian Scientist church on Central Park West into condos has been scrapped, YIMBY reports. The developer, listed as 361 Central Park West LLC, withdrew the plan to build 35 condos because of likely rejection by the Board of Standards and Appeals, which must approve waivers necessary for the conversion to proceed.

In March 2015, after weathering a lengthy approval process with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the developer filed for the waivers on the basis of five “hardships,” including the narrow, irregular shape of the lot.

The conversion plan faced vocal community opposition, and attorney Michael Hiller, representing the Central Park West Neighbors Association, called the hardship application “considerable hubris.” He added, “This is a victory not only for the Upper West Side and the church’s congregation who fought valiantly to preserve the church, but for all New Yorkers who believe that our history is valuable and that landmark buildings should be preserved and protected.”

The congregation has moved to another church on West 65th Street. The CPW church was built in 1903, and its interior, which did not have landmark status, has already been gutted. The building now resides in limbo.

Synagogues are doing it. Churches and chunks of college campuses are doing it. So why shouldn’t a drug and alcohol rehab facility do it? What they’re doing, of course, is turning into luxury condos.

The latest building to join the stampede is Phoenix House at 164-166 W. 74th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a landmarked building that’s headquarters to one of the largest drug and alcohol rehab nonprofits in the country. Greystone Development and Prime Rok Real Estate bought the seven-story building last week for $26.8 million, The Real Deal reports, with plans to turn the 33,000 square feet of space into 14 luxury condos. Prices are expected to range from $2.3 million to $6.5 million for the duplex penthouse.
Architect Barry Rice has been hired to design the interior. The facade will remain unchanged since the building is in the Upper West Side/Central Park West historic district.

Phoenix House, meanwhile, will relocate operations to its other New York properties, including one at 2191 Third Avenue in East Harlem.

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