City Hall has joined the battle to save 200 Amsterdam Ave. — and work can continue on the controversial tower over the howls of critics and activists.
The city’s Law Department on Tuesday appealed a February court ruling that called on the Department of Buildings to revoke a 2017 permit to construct the 52-story condo tower near West 71st Street. The filing automatically stays the decision until the case is heard by the Appellate Division.
The move followed a similar appeal by developer SJP Properties and Mutsui Fusodan America.
Unless Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Marc Perry’s February decision is overturned, the developers must take down as many as 20 floors from the nearly finished, $650 million tower.
Also at stake are older buildings that used the same zoning “loophole” that enabled 200 Amsterdam to rise to 668 feet in a mostly low-rise neighborhood — including the MetLife Building on Park Avenue.
The Municipal Art Society and other 200 Amsterdam Avenue foes said the site’s large development potential was achieved by illegally cobbling it from “partial tax lots.” The court agreed, saying that zoning law required assemblages to be put together from full tax lots.
But project backers say that DOB and the Bureau of Standards and Appeals correctly approved the plans, because they were based on long-standing DOB policy.
The judge claimed the DOB disallowed partial-lot transfers starting in 2018. But that was a year after it gave the green light to 200 Amsterdam. Moreover, the agency and the developers say the “change” was a proposal only with no legal standing.
On Monday, the DOB finally banned partial tax-lot transfers but exempted projects that already had permits. City Hall spokesperson Jane Meyer on Tuesday emphasized that the change didn’t retroactively apply. A rep for the developers praised the city for “taking a stand against a legally flawed court ruling.”
Municipal Art Society president Elizabeth Goldstein said, “It is not enough to ban this deceptive practice going forward, the developers of 200 Amsterdam Avenue must be held accountable for violating city regulations.”
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