De Blasio backs contentious 20-story UWS nursing home project

Court ruling in December blocked Jewish Home Lifecare's West 97th Street plans

Jewish Home Lifecare
Rendering of nursing home on West 97th Street on the Upper West Side (credit: Jewish Home Lifecare)

UPDATED, 10:00 a.m., March 28: Mayor Bill de Blasio is supporting a nursing home developer’s plans for a new Upper West Side facility located next to a school, despite the project being blocked by the New York State Supreme Court in December due to noise and hazardous material concerns.

Jewish Home Lifecare’s plans for 20-story nursing home on West 97th Street, which would be located next to both P.S. 163 elementary school and a residential complex, are in flux after a Dec. 9 decision by the court “vacated and annulled” aspects of a state environmental review of the development.

The decision is forcing the state to reassess “its findings on the issue of noise and hazardous material” that would be caused by the development, according to DNAinfo.

The ruling was a boost to parents of schoolchildren and local stakeholders who have for years opposed the project, located between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues on the Upper West Side.

But that hasn’t stopped the mayor’s Office of Sustainability, alongside the state Attorney General’s office, from opposing the decision, which Jewish Home Lifecare is currently appealing.

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In A State Supreme Court filing Tuesday, Esther Brunner, the office’s deputy director, argued that the project is safe and that the state’s environmental review shouldn’t be subject to “second guessing” that could set a bad precedent for opponents of future construction projects.

The filing, known as an amicus brief, “is solely in regards to the technical standards used to evaluate potential environmental impacts,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said in a statement. “We take the concerns of the parents and community very seriously.”

Jewish Home Lifecare acquired the West 97th Street site in question through a land swap deal with developers Joe Chetrit and Larry Gluck, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2011. [DNAinfo]Rey Mashayekhi

This story has been updated to include that the state Attorney General’s office is supporting Jewish Home Lifecare in its appeal of the state Supreme Court’s decision in December, and to include the statement from the mayor’s office.