Sutton Place neighborhood fights on against supertall condo
A Manhattan neighborhood group is taking its battle against a 67-story condo tower to court.
The East River 50s Alliance said it will challenge a decision by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals that gives developer Gamma Real Estate more time to finish the foundation for its tower without being bound by new zoning restrictions that would cut its planned height by about half. The zoning change was put into effect as construction was under way on Sutton 58, the project the alliance calls a “monstrous, out-of-place mega-tower.”
In granting Gamma a six-month extension Tuesday, the board “ignored the law and the facts in order to rubber-stamp a developer’s bad conduct,” Ben Kallos, the city councilman who led the rezoning campaign, said in a phone interview. “We’re going to have to go to the courts, which will hopefully have less political influence.
Work on Sutton 58, in the Sutton Place neighborhood along the East River, was halted in December when the city council approved regulations capping the height of all new buildings in the area. Gamma had been racing against the clock to lay the tower’s foundation before the vote, which would have exempted the project from the new rules. At the time, the developer said it was just 10 work days away from completing the foundation, so the six-month extension effectively would allow the tower to be built to its full height.
If built to its full 799 feet (244 meters), Sutton 58 would stand twice the height of the current tallest building in the zoning area, which covers 52nd to 59th streets, east of First Avenue and to the edge of the East River.
A spokesman for Gamma said the developer had no comment on the board’s decision or the alliance’s plans to fight it. Representatives for the Board of Standards and Appeals weren’t available for comment.