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Sutton Place skyscraper will rise regardless of rezoning, developer says

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Gamma Real Estate has laid out a plan on how to move forward if a rezoning of the neighborhood is approved

Gamma Real Estate

UPDATE 11/22/17: The City Council’s land use committee approved an application to rezone a 10-block stretch along Sutton Place, to curb the size of future skyscrapers in the neighborhood. They however removed a grandfather clause put in by the City Planning Commission that would have allowed Gamma Real Estate’s Sutton 58 tower to move forward despite the rezoning.

The proposal now heads back to City Planning, who will once again have to sign off on these changes before the proposal returns to the full City Council for its approval. Gamma has vowed to move forward with its project regardless of the outcome.

The developer behind Sutton Place’s planned 800-foot skyscraper is going to move forward regardless of a proposed rezoning of the neighborhood, The Real Deal reports. Last week, the City Planning Commission approved a neighborhood-backed rezoning for a 10-block stretch in the East 50s area, but included a clause that would allow Gamma Real Estate’s project to move forward as planned, since it is already underway.

City Council member Ben Kallos, who is a co-sponsor of the rezoning proposal, has expressed his opposition to this clause, and the rezoning proposal will soon be voted on by the full City Council.

At a City Council subcommittee meeting on Monday, the head of Gamma, Jonathan Kalikow, said the development team would continue on with the project regardless of the outcome of the rezoning proposal. If the City Council does agree to this “grandfathered” clause, then the project can keep moving forward without a hitch.

However if that clause is ultimately removed before the rezoning is passed, Gamma will try a different tack. The developer will head to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). If the development team can show that most of the foundation work is complete, then city law will require the BSA to sign off on the project, according to TRD.

Gamma could be further aided by the City Council’s position on the construction clause. If there’s an attempt to remove the clause, then the proposal will head back to the City Planning Commission for its approval, giving Gamma even more time to wrap up foundation work.

Gamma seems more optimistic now than when the East River 50s Alliance’s altered zoning proposal came before the City Planning Commission in October. At that time Gamma expressed concerns about being able to wrap up foundation work before Thanksgiving. But it seems the bureaucratic process has bought the developer more time to wrap up work.

The Real Deal noted that the developer is rapidly moving forward with construction work with the city’s Department of Buildings having approved several after-hours work applications on the site. An appeal with the BSA will add another four to six months on the project, but Gamma is determined to move forward with the project.