Construction halted at 800-foot Sutton Place tower after City Council approves rezoning

December 1, 2017

The original rendering of 3 Sutton Place by Foster + Partners

Gamma Real Estate will stop work on Sutton 58, a proposed 800-foot-tall residential tower at 3 Sutton Place, after the New York City Council voted on Thursday to rezone 10 blocks on the Upper East Side. According to The Real Deal, the rezoning requires properties between 51st and 59th Streets east of First Avenue to follow ‘tower-on-a-base” rules, meaning 45 to 50 percent of the building must be built below 150 feet. This drastically changes the developer’s plan for a soaring skyscraper and also caps the height of future buildings.

The East Rivers Fifties Alliance (ERFA), a coalition of local residents, along with Council Member Ben Kallos, led the rezoning efforts beginning in June, hoping to set a 260-foot height limit for mid-block sites in the Sutton Place neighborhood. The City Planning Commission later updated the application in October, requiring the now-approved tower-on-a-base rules.

According to city law, if there’s been significant progress on a project’s foundation or it’s complete, the site might be immune to the zoning changes. Because of this loop-hole, Jonathan Kalikow, the co-founder and president of Gamma, has said he will appeal the decision because the foundation for Sutton 58 will be completed in two weeks. However, the appeal process could take months, possibly ceasing construction until the spring or early summer.

“In blindly following Council member Ben Kallos, the New York City Council just put more than a hundred New Yorkers out of a job tomorrow, right before the holidays,” Kalikow said in a statement to The Real Deal. “This shameless political move gives Council member Kallos a temporary political win so he can cater to a handful of rich constituents who do not want their million-dollar views obstructed.”

While Gamma, and others opposed to the rezoning, believe the ERFA wanted to block this specific tower, the president of the group Alan Kersh, said the zoning effort “was never about just one building.”

“It was a district-wide application to prevent megatowers on soft sites. It was a successful effort to deter assemblages of parcels containing low-rise, often rent-stabilized, housing to be demolished for the construction of megatower,” Kersh said in a statement Thursday.

The ERFA’s effort to rezone Sutton Place began before Gamma ever owned the site. As 6sqft previously reported, Gamma won the foreclosure auction and closed on the $86 million acquisition of 3 Sutton Place, which includes three neighboring lots, in April. Soon after their purchase, the developer demolished three tenement buildings on East 58th Street.

[Via The Real Deal]


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