“I guess I didn’t get the memo”: With UWS supertall, Gary Barnett doubles down on luxury market

Extell chief says he's not concerned about supply glut fears

From left: Helen Rosenthal, Gary Barnett and a rendering of 50 West 66th Street
From left: Helen Rosenthal, Gary Barnett and a rendering of 50 West 66th Street

Last month, The Real Deal reported that Extell Development quietly acquired $202M in air rights in order to triple the size of its planned Upper West Side luxury tower at 50 West 66th Street, a move that had been feared by some local politicians and community groups.

In an interview with the New York Times last week, Extell’s CEO Gary Barnett, undaunted by gripes of his future building’s neighbors, made clear he’s not concerned about the the oversupply of ultra-luxury condominiums in Manhattan, a glut he has done a fair bit in contributing to. “I guess I didn’t get the memo,” Barnett quipped, saying he remained convinced that New York would remain a safe haven for global money for the forseeable future.

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Barnett and local city councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who opposes the project, disagree as to whether zoning laws will allow the tower to be built. Barnett and his attorney David Karnovsky argue the rules allow them to build the 775-foot tower as long as 60 percent of the floor area is contained in the first 150 feet. Rosenthal, however, says that’s not the case, according to the Times.

On an island increasingly dominated by supertall buildings, Barnett doesn’t seem to think the height is worth getting worked up about. “A 700-footer doesn’t even rank anymore,” he said. [NYT]Will Parker