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Is East 78th Street Getting a New Residential Development?

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An LLC recently purchased two townhouses at 153 and 155 East 78th Street for $12.2 million. Add to that tally number 149-151 East 79th Street, which the same LLC is now in the process of buying from therapy center the Ackerman Institute, the Observer reports. The buy is something of a good deed for Ackerman, which lost $3.3 million in the Madoff scam and had the townhouse on the market (initial price: $16.9 million) from 2010 until March 2011. But what does the townhouse grab mean for East 78th Street?

One possible answer: larger-scale development. The townhouses at 153 and 155 East 78th Street come with 23,000 square feet of unused air rights, and the Ackerman Institute offers another 23,661 square feet of air rights. If it's any consolation to anxious neighbors, the Observer notes that at least the townhouses just to the east of these three are landmarked. Phew.
· New Owner of Townhouse Duo on East 78th Street is Also Buying the Ackerman Institute [NYO]