Our Town Luxury Mega-Tower For Sutton Place by Daniel Fitzsimmons

Our Town
Our Town
Luxury Mega-Tower For Sutton Place
Daniel Fitzsimmons
04/07/2015

Plans have been drawn up for a luxury 900-foot condo tower in Sutton Place, which, if completed as planned, would rank as one of the tallest buildings in Manhattan.

The 268,000-square-foot tower will become the second-tallest on the Upper East Side, behind the in-progress 432 Park Avenue at 1,400 feet, and one of the tallest in the city.

Construction permits have not yet been filed for 426-432 East 58th Street, allowing the massive project to fly mostly under the radar until now. Councilmember Ben Kallos, whose district includes Sutton Place, was only made aware of the project last week, as were members of Community Board 6.

A sales brochure put together by Cushman and Wakefield dubs the project as the “Sutton Place Development,” and notes it is “an ultra-luxury, as of right, ground up, opportunity which will reach over 900 feet tall and feature unparalleled 360 degree views of Midtown, Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, Central Park and the East River.”

The 268,000 square feet of buildable space and air rights, which includes 58,000 square feet of inclusionary housing rights, have already been delivered. It’s unclear if the affordable housing will be offered on- or off-site, or how many units of affordable housing will be included. Representatives for The Bauhouse Group, which owns the site, declined to field questions about the Sutton Place Development, but a representative of the company provided a press release to Our Town that said the project will include about 95 units.

“In the upcoming weeks we will present our specific plans for the site and conduct an open dialogue with members of the Sutton Place community,” said Chris Jones, co-founder of The Bauhouse Group in the press release. “We’re looking forward to this discussion and the next phase of this exciting development.”

Cushman and Wakefield’s brochure goes on to say that the assemblage making the development possible consists of four building lots totaling 80 feet of frontage on East 58th Street between 1st Avenue and Sutton Place. The depth of the lot is 100 feet.

There are also indications that Bauhouse is looking to offload the site to another developer, and that whoever winds up buying the lot could build even higher than 900 feet.

“Located in an R10 zone, there are no height restrictions on the Sutton Place Tower, which means a buyer could expand the site through additional air rights purchases,” said the brochure.

Kallos said he’s opposed to a high-rise luxury residential tower in a residential neighborhood, and will be looking to mobilize the community to push back against the size and scope of the Sutton Place Development.

“The brochure tells the story for us,” said Kallos. “What’s most concerning to me about [the project] is that it’s creating a future where the only people that will have a right to light and air are the people who can afford it.”

Kallos pointed out that the sales brochure touts views above the 50th floor that will have unobstructed views.

“They don’t even bother showing what views will look like for the first 100 feet,” said Kallos.

58 Sutton Views

Community Board 6 chair Sandro Sherrod told Our Town that the board, like Kallos, was just made aware of what’s being proposed at Sutton Place through constituents. But because the project is as of right, any plans that are filed with the Dept. of Buildings would not come before the board for review.

“Our board does hold a long-standing position that development should be contextually appropriate to its immediate environment and we will be reaching out to the developer to learn more about this project and how it might impact the area,” said Sherrod.

Kallos reinforced his opposition to the project as proposed and urged constituents to contact local elected officials to voice their concerns. With enough community support, he said, it’s possible to insert a zoning text amendment or height restriction before the developer builds over 50 percent of the base of the building.

“This is our chance, otherwise we will get a super-scraper in a residential neighborhood and we won’t be able to do anything about it,” said Kallos. “This is literally about the one percent having light and air, and the rest not.”

But it’s clear from the sales brochure that the ability to build big is one of the assemblage’s biggest selling points, and that whoever buys the site will likely have plans to build as tall as possible.

“Due to numerous restrictive co-ops, historical townhouses, and parks, Sutton Place has seen virtually no new ultra-luxury residential development and will see no comparable opportunities in terms of size, scope, impact, or luxury,” said the brochure. “This is truly a one of a kind opportunity to build an instance classic that will impact the New York City skyline.”

58 Sutton Market Comparison

Issue: 
Affordable Housing