Despite the fact that the site is headed to the auction block next month, local residents and elected officials are rallying to prevent the possible construction of a 950-foot condo tower on East 58th Street in tony Sutton Place. Curbed reports that the group, which includes Councilmen Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, have submitted a plan to the City Planning Commission that proposes a height cap of 260 feet for the area bounded by East 52nd and East 59th streets east of First Avenue where there is currently no limit on how tall apartment towers can be.
The actual tower was designed by British starchitect Norman Foster for developer Joseph Beninati of Bauhouse Group. Last spring, Beninati was unable to refinance $130 million in loans, and so this past September, a bankruptcy court ordered the sale of the site to pay back the creditors and partners. Just a week ago, sources said the auction was scheduled for December 13 with bids due by December 8.
But this isn’t stopping opponents, who feel the allowable height is completely out of scale with the low-rise, residential neighborhood (at 950 feet, the tower would be the second-tallest residential building on the east side, behind only the 1,358-foot 432 Park Avenue). They’re hoping the rezoning can be approved before any development work begins. Further delaying the project is the fact that on Wednesday, the Department of Buildings denied a permit application to stabilize a building next door in order to proceed with demolition at the site. Both of these factors may deter bidders, as well as have an impact on the sales price. 6sqft previously reported that the site could fetch “as much as $210 million if it sells for $800 per square foot, which would set a land sale record.”
The Wall Street Journal does note, however, that the group of opponents known as the East River 50s Alliance is made up of “affluent residents of a high-rise co-op across the street from the site, whose views may be blocked by the proposed tower.”
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Neighborhoods : Sutton Place