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Thread: A tower in the Bronx, with a side order of NIMBY's

  1. #1
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem

    Default A tower in the Bronx, with a side order of NIMBY's

    From Shalom Riverdale, reprinted from the Riverdale Press:

    Tower to Rise to 17 Stories

    By Alejandro Lazo
    The Riverdale Press

    Plans for the condominium tower next door to St. Gabriel’s Church that touched off a firestorm of criticism and controversy earlier this year now call for a 17-story tower on the L-shaped lot between Arlington and Netherland avenues, the contractor who will build the apartment, William L. Friedlich, of Hudson View Construction, Inc., said last week.

    News that the building would rise so high, dwarfing the surrounding six- and seven-story apartments, drew renewed criticism from nearby residents.

    Developer Shmuel Jonas “is turning around and saying, ‘I don’t care about you, I don’t care about your community, I care about money,’” said Pat Boyle, who lives at

    The new building will be marketed toward Riverdale’s Orthodox Jewish community, Mr. Friedlich said. It will have a Sabbath elevator programmed to stop at every floor, so residents can ride without pushing a button. The building will also have a swimming pool, a doorman and other amenities.

    Mr. Friedlich expects the apartments to be priced slightly higher than the Promenade East Condominiums at

    He described a tapering tower, with a 17,000 square-foot base housing a parking garage and offices for doctors, dentists and non-profit organizations.

    The first five stories of the residential portion of the building will be built on a 6,000 square-foot footprint, with three apartments per floor. The remaining 10 stories of the building will be built on a 3,000 square-foot footprint, offering duplexes with three apartments every two floors, Mr. Friedlich said. In all there will be 33 or 34 apartments.

    Shmuel Jonas and his father, billionaire telecommunications entrepreneur Howard Jonas, initially said they hoped to build a 30-story building by purchasing air rights to St. Gabriel’s parking lot, but the church rebuffed their $3.7 million offer.

    For weeks the Jonases have refused to say more about their revised plans than that they still planned a large building, leaving neighbors to speculate about its size and politicians to try to figure out how to accelerate action on a zoning change recommended by Community Board 8 four years ago and still making its way through the city’s planning bureaucracy.

    Mr. Boyle said Monday evening that he planned to put up flyers in nearby buildings on Tuesday, asking people to call local politicians to protest the building. He described the move as a “last-ditch” effort, but admitted that he felt little could be done now.

    The Department of City Planning is likely to certify a rezoning plan on June 21 that would limit the height of a building on the Jonas lot to 70 feet, but that would only be the first step of a public review process that could take up to seven months.

    Mr. Friedlich said that plans for the building would probably be filed this week and construction would begin immediately once the Department of Buildings issues permits.

    Norman Danzig, another Arlington Avenue resident who helped organize an ad hoc committee that collected 1,200 signatures opposing the condo, said there has been an aura of secrecy surrounding plans for the building, and was angry at Shmuel Jonas for not doing more to keep the community informed.

    “It’s an outrageous project,” Mr. Danzig said. “They’re just beating the clock and it just stinks.”

    Anticipating such a reaction, Mr. Friedlich said on Friday that the building’s current design was in fact much better for the neighborhood then the shorter, squatter building that would be required under new zoning regulations.

    “What I say is that density is a cause for concern, the stress on the parking, the stress on the services, etc. But this building has very low density,” Mr. Friedlich said.

    “I’m sorry that some people are upset with a tall building,” he continued. “But I don’t think they understand that if I build it lower and wider, it’s just going to block out more light, and be visually stronger and heavier.

    I just want our neighborhood to stay basically the same as it is,” Mr. Boyle retorted. “We don’t need a needle,” he said. “I hate to have a building sticking out like the World Trade Center did ... we don’t need that.

  2. #2
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Been browsing this forum for a long time, but never joined. This is my first post.
    Anyway, about the NIMBY'S, I'm starting to think that these people are anti-development of large buildings because, as owners, they feel that new development might bring their property values down. When newer, better properties are available nearby, there's less demand for the older properties.
    Essentially, the growth and progress of the city is stymied by selfish and greedy people!

  3. #3
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    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    This rendering by Sven Johnson fits the 17 story in Riverdale envelope

  4. #4


    I don't get it. The building is rather nice. I think the building is a good thing for the neighborhood.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Apparently that's the wrong building.

    On Goldstein Associates' site,

    Riverdale Classic Residences by Hyatt

  6. #6


    Ahhh..I see it was built and the NIMBYS got shut down. GOOD.

  7. #7

    Default Riverdale Confronts Change

    Touches on the 7, 13, 19, and 20 story developments in Riverdale, including the one posted above.

    Riverdale Confronts Change
    Published: May 1, 2005

    WITH its mix of mansions, attached houses, highly regarded private and public schools, colleges, religious institutions and the pastoral Wave Hill public garden, Riverdale seems set off from the rest of the Bronx - indeed from the rest of the city. ..

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