Published On: Mon, Jul 28th, 2014

Gary Barnett Wins Suit Against Art Students League ‘Rebels’

215 West 57th Street

Gary Barnett’s Extell Development Company is celebrating the decision by a New York Superior Court Judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by members of the Art Students League of New York over the firm’s plans for a new skyscraper next to the League’s home, The Real Deal reported. The suit sought to prevent the League from selling development rights to Extell.

The more than one hundred students who brought the suit were actually at odds with their own organization, which supports the planned development and was also named as a defendant in the suit. The plaintiffs accused the League’s board of not giving all of its members adequate time or information about the proposal to be able to properly consider it before the organization held its vote on the matter.

The plan was approved by a 6 to 1 margin when the vote was held in February by the 1, 569 member body. The opposition group makes up less than 10% of the membership.

Justice Melvin Schweitzer said in his ruling that “the Board had a legitimate business interest in rallying the League’s members to vote on an extraordinary opportunity for the League.”

He suit was first brought in February.

The Art Students League of New York currently calls 215 West 57th Street home. Their building is next door to Extell’s new skyscraper currently under construction at 225 West 57th Street. Extell had paid the League $31.8 million for 6, 000 square feet of rights over its building for the cantilevered tower. The rebel members claimed that the fee was not high enough.

The proposed cantilever will sit 200 feet above the base of the League’s building, be 28 feet wide and 88 feet long. A cantilever is where part of a high building’s upper floors protrude outward beyond the width of its base. This can be seen in many modern towers. Sometimes that portion extends over another property, as in this case, and so that site’s owners must give approval for use of their air space.

When completed, the new residential tower will be 1, 435-foot tall and be one of the many new skyscrapers that are redefining the skyline in that part of Manhattan. The residential building will have 88 floors and 223 apartments. Herzog & de Meuron designed it.

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