A Manhattan judge has tossed a lawsuit by an Upper East Side condo board — whose building was once used by Jeffrey Epstein to traffic underage girls — that had sought to stop the New York Blood Center from putting up a tower nearby, a new ruling shows.
The condo board at 301 East 66th Street filed suit in 2021 to overturn the city’s approval of the non-profit blood bank’s application for expanding its three-story headquarters at East 67th Street to a 16-story building.
The East 66th Street’s building was featured in Epstein’s black book, listed as “apt. for models,” and his brother, Mark Epstein, owns most of the units.
The suit argued that the new 334-foot life sciences tower — set to include a lab to study dangerous microbes — would dwarf and cast shadows on a nearby school and park.
It also said the fact that the proposed tower would house a Bio Safety Level 3 lab posed a risk that nasty pathogens and biohazards would escape and threaten the health of locals.
In 2021, Mark Epstein — who rented “several apartments” at the building to his late brother — protested the rezoning with the City Planning Commission claiming the new facility would “kill the views.”.
But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth said in her Tuesday ruling that the new facility “will benefit the community,” and “support this industry” especially since it will be close to other medical facilities and hospitals.
Bluth said the Bio Safety Level 3 lab would be governed by rigorous regulations, adding “it is not an inherent part of running a lab that dangerous materials escape on a regular basis.”
Bluth said the city conducted a proper review of the impact the project would have on the neighborhood. Still, she acknowledged that the views may be “negatively impacted” and the four-year building project “will be annoying” for nearby residents.
New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix said: “This is an important project furthering the interests of all New Yorkers. We are pleased the court agreed the city’s review was thorough and legally sound.”
Mark Epstein declined to comment.
Lawyers for the condo board didn’t immediately return a request for comment. It is not immediately clear whether they will appeal the ruling.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.