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Stop-work order lifted at DDG’s embattled Upper East Side tower

The developer’s ‘zoning gymnastics’ seem to have paid off

The stop-work order for developer DDG’s controversial Upper East Side tower has officially been lifted, reports the Wall Street Journal. Great news for DDG, less great news for the many elected officials and community groups who’ve been trying to put a stop to project.

To recap: back in May, DDG was ordered to stop construction at 180 East 88th Street, where they were building what was to be one of the neighborhood’s tallest tower. The issue: circumventing zoning laws. The city’s Department of Buildings found the developer had craftily created a four-foot lot on East 88th in order to dodge existing zoning laws (in this case, height limitations), and constructed a taller building than would be allowed by more conventional means.

Local residents were not happy. One might think at this point the developer would back off, but one would be incorrect: instead, they doubled down on the work-around, and proposed extending the four-foot lot to 10 feet. A good idea, it turns out—the city ruled in favor of the new plan, allowing work on the project to commence once again.

Needless to say, this did not soothe the locals. According to the WSJ, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, a preservation group, plans to file an administrative appeal, and has no qualms about going to court to stop the project, should it come that.

“I am not sure what kind of building you can build on a 10-by-22-foot lot but I sure wouldn’t want to live there,’ said Council member Ben Kallos. A zoning expert hired by the group previously called the DDG’s antics “the most amazing zoning gymnastics I have seen in a long time.”

For its part, DDG is undeterred. With the stop-work order lifted, the building is back on track for completion in 2018, a spokesperson for the developer told the WSJ.