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HomePosts Tagged "zoning"

In a ringing defeat for neighborhoods, the Department of Buildings recently dismissed a challenge to a blatant zoning ruse at 62nd and Second Avenue – building luxury megatowers using floors of near-empty space. Cashing in on the use of these “stilts” or mechanical voids to boost building heights is a new trend in New York City development, maybe most notably flaunted at 432 Park Avenue (yes, that one). But after a near year-long fight, the decision has set off a fever pitch of alarm for preservationists and elected officials worried about whether the city has rubber-stamped a loophole.

 

Developers are raring to line their pockets.  New zoning regulations would kickstart what the Commercial Observer describes as “a forest of new office towers in one of the city’s densest commercial districts.”  The Midtown East upzoning proposal had gone from “a hotly contested rezoning under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to a relatively uncontroversial one under Mayor Bill de Blasio.”

Had a developer proposed building a megatower in the middle of a narrow tree-lined street anywhere else in the five boroughs, he’d be laughed clear across the nearest river.  But the small piece of Manhattan encompassing most of the 50s, east of First Avenue, is the only residential area in the city with no height limits on buildings.  None at all.

ERFA town hall meeting to to oppose megatower invasion of Sutton Place

Hence, Gamma Real Estate’s plan to shoehorn a ludicrous spike smack into the middle of E. 58th Street, just off First.  Although the Kalikow family is trying to portray its massive project as a done deal, it is not quite.

The East River 50s Alliance (ERFA) has submitted a sophisticated rezoning plan for the neighborhood that would impose sane height limits on new construction while promoting more affordable housing than Mayor de Blasio would require under current rules.