Sutton Area Community News Bulletin Proposed Tower for 58th Street by Gail S. Haft
In April SAC received news that the Bauhouse Group developers were assembling a parcel of brownstone buildings on East 58th Street, between First Avenue and Sutton Place, and that the owners had agreed to sell the buildings for a sum of approximately $32,000,000. Included in the deal were air rights from several adjacent buildings. The Bauhouse plan is to build a 900 ft. megatower with "as of right" rules according to R10 zoning regulations. Councilmember Ben Kallos has been actively engaged in opposing this project and has posted an online petition (BenKallos.com/petition/suttonplace) that has received over 2000 signatures. In addition, the Land Use Committee of CB6 has submitted a resolution to the City Planning Commission stating their opposition to the Bauhouse plan. A coalition group has been formed including SAC's President Dieter Seelig, Government Committee Chair Gail Haft, Alan Kersh, Board President of the Sovereign and other Sutton area residents. The coalition, The East River Fifties Alliance, Inc. will be a 501(c) (4) non-profit corporation. The consensus is to get a zoning change from R10 to R8A that would restrict building heights so developers would not have carte blanche to build to the sky, thus preserving the quality of life and character of our community. We are grateful that the Turtle Bay Association and East Midtown Neighborhood Coalition, as well as Civitas, have joined with us to oppose the megatower.
Over the past few months, the issue of megatowers has become virulent, especially on West 57th Street with 157 West 57th Street and the Macklowe Building on Park Avenue at 57th Street. Community Board 5 has publicly opposed the oversized buildings and the shadows overlooking Central Park.
The time has come for our city officials to change the archaic zoning laws that no longer meet the environmental needs of the residents of our city. We are hopeful that this long overdue change will be effective in the not too distant future.
—Gail Haft, Chair, Government Committee