At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 10th, the East River Fifties Alliance (ERFA) will hold a Special Town Hall entitled “Build It Right,” at the Plaza 400, Skytop Lounge, at 400 East 56th Street. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Elected officials including State Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Ben Kallos will be present and will address the urgent need to keep new real estate development within contextual guidelines, especially on quiet residential streets.
At present there are no building height restrictions anywhere in the Sutton Place community – the only neighborhood in NYC that is not protected by law against this type of development. ERFA and these elected officials have co-signed a formal application to amend the New York City zoning law by imposing strict contextual height limits and offering incentives to developers who include affordable housing in their building plans.
The speakers will also address immediate and pressing issues related to a site on East 58th Street that could, “as of right,” be developed into a 900-foot-tall luxury residential tower. Affordable housing units are now being demolished on that site.
Members of the general public, time permitting, will have the opportunity to voice their comments and questions.
To send a question in advance, email it to email@example.com, put “Question for Town Hall” in the subject line, and include your name in body of the email. We may not have time to address all questions at the event, but will endeavor to make all answers to questions available on the FAQ section of this website.
As many of you know, there have been recent developments to report.
First, according to City records, Gamma Real Estate, one of the major backers of the Bauhouse-planned skyscraper at 430 East 58th Street, filed plans before the end of 2016 for a new tower on the site shortly after buying the property and its development rights in a foreclosure auction in mid-December.
High-rise buildings typically require complex plans, and in most cases the Department of Buildings approval process is a lengthy one. ERFA’s lawyers and Councilman Kallos independently expressed concerns to the Department of Buildings that the project should not be reviewed until all components of the filing have been submitted.
The fact that the new owner has filed plans should not cause ERFA or its members to panic. It is no surprise that the new owner is moving ahead, presumably with the hope that ERFA’s rezoning effort will lose momentum.
ERFA remains optimistic that it will be successful in obtaining rezoning before the developer for the 58th street parcel can substantially complete a foundation on the site.
And, the second bit of news is that Chairman Carl Weisbrod has announced he is stepping down effective the end of this month, and the City has announced Marisa Lago as the next Director of Department of City Planning and Chair of City Planning Commission as of March.
While we are in a race — make no mistake about that — our timeline is still adequate to get the zoning changed before the developer substantially completes its building foundation. We are pressing forward on all fronts towards success.
What are we doing:
- ERFA and its legal team are monitoring the developer’s progress in this filing on the City’s Department of Building’s website.
- ERFA is in ongoing discussion with the City’s Planning Department regarding the materials in its rezoning application and is pressing for certification as soon as possible.
- ERFA is continuing to urge Chairman Weisbrod and his staff to certify the rezoning application so that it can go through the City’s legally-mandated process for rezoning applications.
What you can do:
- Show your support and ask for the same considerations for rezoning as have been afforded other neighborhoods by asking the City to move our application through the process Click here to write to the City Planning Chairman.
- Report any issues you see with the 58th Street development site to 311. The City must log each complaint and address it. Councilmember Kallos also monitors this log so that he can take action on our behalf.
- Make financial contributions to help support this effort so that we can stay in this race. We must be in it to win it, and can’t stay the course without financial resources. Click here to make a contribution.
- Come to the next Town Hall on January 19th at 8 a.m. @ Morso, 420 East 59th, to hear the latest updates.
Take action. Contextual zoning, affordable housing, smart development for your community. This is not someone else’s fight. It’s yours.
Alan Kersh President
East River Fifties Alliance
Come to ERFA’s first Town Hall of 2017 at 8 a.m. at Morso, 420 East 59th Street.
Hear important updates on the progress of ERFA’s rezoning plan, news about the 58th Street development site and upcoming City Planning Commission changes—and how they affect ERFA’s efforts on behalf of our community.
We are in a race, now more than ever. Learn how you can help us win this fight.
The East 58th Street megatower development site known as 3 Sutton Place was sold in a foreclosure auction on December 13th, to N. Richard Kalikow’s Gamma Real Estate. Gamma, which was the original lender on the deal to assemble the land and build the supertall tower, paid about $86 million for the site plus $12 million to pay amounts outstanding on prior air rights purchases.
At present, the new owner’s plans for the site are not clear. He could opt to sell the property, move ahead with the condo himself or bring in a joint-venture partner.
But this much is clear: unless the residents of our community unite and actively support our effort to change the City’s zoning law text to prohibit the development of supertall skyscrapers on the quiet residential streets of the East River Fifties, the community will suffer the consequences.
The threat is real, and it’s immediate.
If the zoning text isn’t officially changed before the project’s foundation is poured, the skyscraper will go up and others like it may follow it on soft sites throughout the East River Fifties. ERFA is fighting against a deadline.
We need your help and your buildings’ financial support to pursue and successfully complete our mission.
To find out how you can help, visit www.erfa.nyc/take-action
Alan Kersh, President
East River Fifties Alliance
As reported by Bloomberg News reporter, Oshrat Carmiel, today, “Gamma Real Estate, the lender to the project, [proposed Bauhouse development on East 58th Street] won the auction with a credit bid of $86 million and is poised to take control of the site, pending approval from the bankruptcy court…”A rezoning proposal by East River 50s Alliance is almost ready to be given a case number and be presented to the public for review, said Alan Kersh, the group’s president. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is among the applicants for the proposal, which was initially submitted to the city planning department in January.”
“It’s been a race against the clock,” Kersh, who is also president of the co-op across the street from the development site, said before the auction took place. His group “would welcome the opportunity to dialogue with the new developer, but really the focus is on the process that would move this through.”
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