ERFA News: WSJ Covers Bauhouse Bankruptcy/Foreclosure Clash

By Team ERFA,

Once again, ERFA’s President, Alan Kersh, was featured in the news: this time, in The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ looked into the bankruptcy/foreclosure battle between the developer Bauhouse and its lenders, and spoke with him about the project.

WSJ: Bankruptcy Is Bellwether of New York’s Condo Market

Controversy over the project started as soon as its existence became public in March 2015…

The Sutton Place tower’s sheer scale—with 78 floors it would reach far higher than surrounding buildings—and location in the middle of a narrow residential street not far from Billionaire’s Row, drew immediate backlash from the community.

“It caught everyone by surprise,” said Alan Kersh, president of the East River 50s Alliance, which has been fighting the tower since it was first proposed last year, calling it “wickedly out of character and out of scale with our neighborhood.”

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.

 

 

Watch Our First ERFA Video

By Team ERFA,

Too Tall for the Fifties

Today, we launch our first video effort entitled, “Too Tall for the Fifties.”  It features neighborhood residents and Councilmember Ben Kallos who talk about the qualities and values that make our community unique and how we must continue to fight megatowers and support our community rezoning plan.

 

 

Check out photos of the East River Fifties and follow us on our new Instagram account.

 

 

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.

 

Community Board 6 Calls on City Planning to Act on ERFA Plan

By Team ERFA,

ERFA Plan Continues to Gain Momentum As Community Board 6 Calls Upon Department of City Planning and City Planning Commission to Act on East River Fifties Alliance Rezoning Proposal

 

On Wednesday, February 10th, Manhattan’s Community Board 6 (CB6) passed, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution that calls upon the Department of City Planning and City Planning Commission to act on the rezoning plan submitted by ERFA. We are grateful that CB6 passed this resolution.  You can read the entire resolution here, or head over to our latest News post for media coverage.