Category: News


ERFA News: ERFA President Featured in National Article on Megatowers

By Team ERFA,

megatower supertower overdevelopment

ERFA’s president, Alan Kersh, was recently featured in an article on Creators.com It looks at the response to megatowers in cities across the country and why it is so important for communities to be in charge of the future of their neighborhoods.The article was also picked up under another headline by HeraldNetHere are a few snippets:

CreatorsDon’t Bury Our Cities in Megatowers

Michael Mehaffy, an architectural critic based in Portland, Oregon, has likened super-tall residential buildings to vertical gated communities cut off from the neighbors far below. Furthermore, the buildings are often half empty.

That’s because these ultra-expensive spaces are being marketed to a global elite seeking a safe place to stash their money. Billions are pouring in from Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Latin America.

Here’s how Alan Kersh, president of the East River Fifties Alliance (a group fighting the Sutton Place megatower), sums up the raw deal: “The neighborhood is being ripped up for foreign owners who may fly in for a couple of days and just want to have a safe deposit box in the sky.”

Much of the money flowing into this super-expensive real estate is dirty — all-cash deals using shell companies. The buyers’ identities are hidden. A concerned U.S. Treasury Department is starting to track these purchasers.

Developers look for “soft” building sites. In older residential areas, such as Sutton Place, that means demolishing the tenements and five-story walkups where people of modest means still live. When the Sutton 58 developer is done, 80 families will be displaced.

The theme this campaign season is ordinary Americans’ wanting their power back. That should extend to politics on the very local level. Residents have a right to determine the destiny of their neighborhoods.

 

 

ERFA News: Media Covers CB6 Resolution

By Team ERFA,

DNAinfo published an article about Community Board 6’s recent resolution. The piece included details about ERFA’s rezoning plan (head to our Media Center for more) and a quote from ERFA’s President, Alan Kersh.

DNAinfo: Grassroots Sutton Place Rezoning Plan Gets Backing from Community Board

MIDTOWN EAST — Community Board 6 has thrown its support behind a rezoning proposal aimed at stopping the construction of skyscrapers in Sutton Place.

CB 6 voted nearly unanimously earlier this month to support a community-funded rezoning application that would limit the height of all new towers, east of First Avenue, from East 52nd to East 59th streets, to 260 feet, or 25 stories.

The East 50s River Alliance, a neighborhood group that sprang up in opposition to the project, filed the rezoning application in January, with support from four city and state lawmakers including Councilman Ben Kallos and State Senator Liz Krueger.

Alan Kersh, president of the alliance, thanked CB 6 for its support of the initiative in a statement.

“We are thrilled that CB6 has not only reiterated its support for rezoning the area to reflect community concerns, but called on City Planning to move swiftly in reviewing and acting on ERFA’s proposal,” Kersh said.

 

ERFA News: Bauhouse Facing Foreclosure

By Team ERFA,

Crain’s, The Real Deal, and Curbed all recently reported that not only is the Bauhouse Group having trouble funding the Sutton Place project, but Gamma Real Estate, which already lent the developer $128.8 million is taking steps to foreclose on their debt. All three articles mentioned ERFA and our rezoning plan to stop the development.

Crain’s: Developer of controversial supertall condo tower faces foreclosure

The developer of a proposed supertall condo tower in Sutton Place that has drawn opposition from residents in the tony Manhattan neighborhood is facing foreclosure by one of its lenders.

Gamma Real Estate, a real estate investment and lending firm operated by N. Richard Kalikow, has started to take steps to seize the project, located at 426-432 E. 58th Street and owned by Bauhouse Group.

Gamma holds as much as $128.8 million in loans against the property, according to both its website and city property records, including mezzanine debt—loans that some developers obtain on top of a senior mortgage. The debt can be risky because they allow lenders to foreclose quickly. According to Stephen Meister, an attorney who represents Bauhouse in the foreclosure action, the Gamma debt expired last month.

The Real Deal: Bauhouse Group’s Sutton Place supertall faces foreclosure

Gamma Real Estate is making moves to foreclose on Bauhouse Group’s troubled supertall planned for Sutton Place.

Bauhouse’s $128.8 million in loans expired last month, spurring the lender, Gamma, to begin the process of seizing 426-432 E. 58th Street, Crain’s reported. The developer argues that foreclosure is premature.”

Curbed: Bauhouse’s Sutton Place Tower At Risk Of Foreclosure: Sources

Bauhouse’s Joseph Beninati has been trying to raise money for the project, which apparently now has a name: Sutton 58, but there are potential issues to overcome. As Crain’s points out, one is an excess of high-end residential units. Another is a proposal from the East River Fifties Alliance to impose a 260-foot height cap.