City says work can resume on Sutton Place’s controversial 800-foot tower

June 27, 2018

Proposed massing of the tower, via CityRealty

A relatively staid neighborhood, things are heating up at the Upper East Side’s Sutton Place, again. Last December, 6sqft reported that Gamma Real Estate had to stop work on Sutton 58, their proposed 800-foot residential tower. After three years of community protest over what many consider an out-of-context supertall building, the New York City Council spoke loudly (with a 45-0 vote) and approved a height rezoning of 10 blocks between 51st and 59th Streets east of First Avenue. The rezoning required 45 to 50 percent of a building should rise below 150 feet. This was a huge blow to Gamma and would require massive changes to their plans. Most immediately, it required a halt of construction on the project. But that just changed.

Gamma Real Estate Sutton 58Via Gamma Real Estate

Yesterday, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approved the exemption for the original Sutton 58 plans. The East River 50s Alliance (ERFA), a community group made up of residents and city officials who oppose the supertall building, responded immediately, vowing to sue. An ERFA representative said they plan to “take the community’s fight against this monstrous, out-of-place mega-tower to the courts.”

According to the current city law, a project can avoid new rezoning laws if a significant amount of progress has already been made on the building’s foundation when those new rules are enacted. This is the grey area where Gamma placed their bets.

The board’s ruling means that it is onwards and upwards for Gamma’s tower. Jonathan Kalikow, head of Gamma, declined to comment.


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