A planned 800-foot Sutton Place tower, that has been the source of consternation for Midtown East residents for quite some time now, has been cleared to move forward by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.
In December 2017, the City Council approved a rezoning of an approximately eight-block stretch between 51st and 59th Streets, east of First Avenue, that called for height caps on new buildings in that stretch. The rezoning required that 45 to 50 percent of a building should sit below a 150-foot height limit. The rezoning was primarily seen as a means to block construction on Gamma Real Estate’s planned tower at 3 Sutton Place, and the approval temporarily halted construction at the site.
In the months prior to the rezoning, the developers had been racing to finish foundation work on their project in the hopes that completion of such work would grant them a reprieve from the B.S.A., after the rezoning had passed. Previously, the City Planning Commission had included a clause in the rezoning proposal that would have allowed Gamma’s project to move forward, but the City Council rejected that.
After the rezoning proposal in December, Gamma’s head, Jonathan Kalikow, said he was hopeful that a B.S.A. decision would come through in late spring or early summer, and that has in fact proved to be the case.
The East River Fifties Alliance, the community group that was at the forefront of the rezoning proposal and the opposition to Gamma’s project, denounced the Board’s decision.
“Today’s decision by the Board of Standards and Appeals comes as no surprise,” a statement by the group read. “The East River Fifties Alliance will now take the community’s fight against this monstrous, out-of-place mega-tower to the courts and away from a city agency.”