Apthorp developers to propose adding four penthouses atop UWS complex

Local politicians, residents are concerned about impact to historic property
By David Jones | July 11, 2013 05:15PM

The developers of the Apthorp condominiums want to add four luxury penthouse apartments to the roof of the landmarked Upper West Side complex, and are set to present their plan to Community Board 7 tonight, The Real Deal has learned.

The plan calls for building duplex and triplex apartments, priced at $2,200 to $3,300 a square foot, to existing units on the 12th floor of the historic property at 390 West End Avenue.

However, some local officials and residents of the 105-year-old building have raised concerns about the impact of the plan on the views and the structural integrity, not to mention the potential for disruption to current inhabitants.

“I really have to study it more, but I’m really concerned about the impact of this,” said state Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side. “Putting those additions on the roof — I’m not sure it does adhere and conform to the architectural integrity of the building.”

Rosenthal said the Apthorp development team — including condo board member Peter O’Connor, representatives from lobbying firm Capolino & Company, and architectural consultant Elise Quasebarth — met with her on June 24th to outline plans for the proposed additions. Architecture firm Goldstein Hill & West designed the apartments and was also represented at the meeting.

City Council Member Gale Brewer noted that the project “has a history of construction troubles between the owners and the tenants. We worry that that will continue with an addition.”

Area Property Partners, a mezzanine lender during the original 2007 acquisition of the Apthorp by Maurice Mann and Africa Israel, took control of the property in 2012 after Irish Bank Resolution, the successor to Anglo Irish Bank, sold the mortgage debt to an Australian lender.

The potential addition is one of several extensions to Upper West Side buildings currently in the works. Last month, the developers of the Evelyn, a rent-stabilized building at 101 West 78th Street, proposed adding two floors during a presentation before the full community board, according to documents obtained by The Real Deal.

The wave of proposed additions is raising concerns about the impact on historic residential structures and on tenants living in the neighborhood.

“Generally we support sensitive development through our historic buildings on the Upper West Side,” said Kelly Carroll, director of preservation at Landmarks West!, a local advocacy group for historic preservation.

The presentation tonight is part of an informational meeting; a presentation before the full community board is scheduled for September, followed by a presentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in October. The construction would take about 18 months, according to sources.

The developers, architects and architectural consultants were not immediately available for comment.

The Apthorp has 12 recorded sales in the last 180 days, averaging $2,272 per square foot, according to StreetEasy. The most expensive listing at the building is a six-bedroom, 5,386-square-foot unit asking $12.25 million. The developers have combined several apartments at the 161-unit complex, reducing the overall size to 154 units, according to sources, however 67 of the units are occupied by rent-controlled or rent-stabilized tenants.