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Sutton Place residents make their case for stymying skyscrapers at City Planning

A rezoning could dramatically reduce the size of Gamma’s planned 800-foot skyscraper

What the construction site looked like in September.
Via Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Just a few weeks after the East River 50s Alliance unveiled a new plan [PDF!] to rezone the Sutton Place area, and curtail the development of towers like the Gamma Real Estate-planned 800-foot skyscraper, the proposal came before the City Planning Commission, the Commercial Observer reports.

On Wednesday, the Commission heard testimony from members of the alliance, other Sutton Place residents, and local elected officials, all of whom back this rezoning effort. Jonathan Kalikow, a principal at Gamma, was also present at the meeting, along with several construction workers, all in opposition to the rezoning effort (of course).

As it stands now, the Alliance is calling for a rezoning that would follow the “tower on a base” principle, wherein 45 to 50 percent of the tower would sit below 150 feet. That would essentially cut Gamma’s project in half.

Previously the rezoning wanted to curtail the height of buildings in this area to 260 feet, but after City Planning raised concerns about that rezoning, the Alliance altered its rezoning proposal.

This latest effort has the backing of several local elected officials including City Council member Ben Kallos. In order for Gamma to move forward with its current plan for the tower, it will have to complete construction on the foundation by Thanksgiving. That’s basically impossible, Kalikow told AM New York.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the local Community Board opted not to review this plan so the rezoning can be fast tracked, and if it is to pass soon then Gamma’s project will be forced to change. The Planning Commission is expected to render its decision on November 1, after which the proposal will move to the City Council for consideration.