Judge Sides With Developer Of an NYU Dorm
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A court decision will allow a developer to begin erecting a 26-story dormitory in the East Village despite objections by nearby residents.
The dormitory, intended for New York University, is being built with air rights purchased from the two-story Cooper Station Post Office, which borders the proposed site. The private developer, Hudson 12th Development LLC, paid the federal government $7.7 million for those air rights, an attorney for Hudson, David Satnick, said last month.
The transfer of air rights was challenged by several community groups and about a dozen neighbors who filed a lawsuit earlier this year, urging the deal be struck down as invalid.
Judge Edward Lehner of state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that when the federal government sold its air rights it had done nothing unusual.
The neighbors and their supporters have claimed that deals such as this one leave residential neighborhoods open to large developments. They claim the city has no way to stop the federal government from building skyscrapers even after it has sold the air rights associated with a particular plot of federal land.
In the four-page opinion, Judge Lehner, wrote that he found this line of reasoning to be a “highly questionable contention.”
Judge Lehner found that the lawsuit must also be dismissed on a technicality, that the plaintiffs should have argued their case to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals before bringing the case to state court. An attorney for the neighbors has argued that by the time the Board of Standards and Appeals heard the case, construction of the dormitory would have been well along.
A construction crew is preparing a foundation for the dormitory, Mr. Berman said yesterday. The dormitory is to stand on East 12th Street, between Third and Fourth avenues on the site of the historic St. Anne’s Catholic Church, which was more than 150 years old before most of it was demolished last year.
Mr. Satnick said Hudson still required additional permits from the city before construction could begin on the new dormitory.