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Another Win for First Avenue Estate

FRIENDS is thrilled to share the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Stahl an appeal for the second time. This final legal battle is over at last for Stahl York Ave. Co., LLC, owner of the City & Suburban Homes Company First Avenue Estate complex, an individual landmark.

For years, Stahl has waged a protracted fight against the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in the courts as they sought to demolish two historic buildings in this full-block complex. Like the groundbreaking Penn Central case of 1978, this week’s legal victory affirms the City’s right to regulate landmark-designated properties as a benefit to “all New York citizens… and quality of life in the city as a whole.”

The First Avenue Estate is a full block complex of tenement buildings, located between East 64th and East 65th Streets and First and York Avenues, that was constructed in 1915 by the City and Suburban Homes Company, and designated as an individual landmark for the significance of its design and pioneering role in social housing reform. Home to longtime tenants of modest income, these buildings continue to be a source of affordable housing on the Upper East Side.

FRIENDS is proud of its longstanding leadership role in this issue, which most recently entailed the filing of an amicus curiae brief in 2017 on behalf of the City of New York, with the support of local and national preservation groups, as well as elected officials.

We are grateful to the many partners who joined us in these efforts and contributed to this victory!

  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
  • State Senator Liz Krueger
  • State Asssembly Member Rebecca Seawright
  • City Council Member Benjamin Kallos
  • Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Preservation League of New York State
  • The Municipal Art Society of New York
  • New York Landmarks Conservancy
  • Historic Districts Council
  • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
  • Landmark West!
  • Friends of the First Avenue Estate

We are also enormously grateful to the tenants, neighbors, advocates, and elected officials who have worked tirelessly over many years on this hardship case. Thanks especially to those who contributed financially to our effort. 

For more information, visit FRIENDS’  First Avenue Estate web page  for a timeline of this ongoing case and links to additional articles about this site.

In the Spring of 2017, FRIENDS led the effort of local and national preservation groups, along with elected officials, to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the City of New York in the ongoing battle to stop the demolition of two historic buildings, part of the City and Suburban Homes First Avenue Estate. The full block complex of tenement buildings was constructed in 1915 by the City and Suburban Homes Company, and designated as an individual landmark for the significance of its design and pioneering role in social housing reform. Home to longtime tenants of modest income, these buildings continue to be a source of affordable housing on the Upper East Side.

New York City and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) have won another hard-fought victory in their efforts to preserve the First Avenue Estate! Last week, the NYS Court of Appeals denied Stahl’s motion to appeal the lower court’s May 2018 ruling which once again upheld the LPC’s denial of hardship. The appeal was dismissed upon the grounds that no substantial constitutional question is directly involved. This new decision has further refuted Stahl’s claims that the property could not be profitable in its current form.

Stahl had also previously attempted to appeal the case at the federal level, but was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2016. Like the groundbreaking Penn Central case of 1978, this opinion affirms the City’s right to regulate landmark-designated properties as a benefit to “all New York citizens… and quality of life in the city as a whole.”  It is possible for Stahl to appeal the state case to the U.S. Supreme Court as well, and they have 90 days in which to do so. FRIENDS will remain vigilant and will continue to provide updates in the case of further legal action.

FRIENDS is proud of its longstanding leadership role in this issue, and we are grateful to the many partners who joined us in filing the latest amicus brief and contributing to this victory!

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
State Senator Liz Krueger
State Asssembly Member Rebecca Seawright
City Council Member Benjamin Kallos
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Preservation League of New York State
The Municipal Art Society of New York
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Historic Districts Council
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Landmark West!
Friends of the First Avenue Estate

We are also enormously grateful to the tenants, neighbors, advocates, and elected officials who have worked tirelessly over many years on this hardship case. Thanks especially to those who contributed financially to our effort.

For more information, visit FRIENDS’  First Avenue Estate web page.
for a timeline of this ongoing case and links to additional articles about this site.