News of the 80-story, 260,000 square foot proposal broke last April, and sent the comparatively squat and sleepy Sutton Place neighborhood into a panic. Community Board 6 voiced its objections, and Councilmember Ben Kallos came out strongly against the building’s height and social implications.
But it wasn’t just community opposition working against Bauhouse principal Joseph Beninati. Michael Stoler, a managing partner at the investment firm Madison Realty Capital, said Beninati’s background also played a role. Antares Investment Partners, the firm Beninati co-founded with a prep school classmate that at one point boasted $6 billion in assets, was accused of overleveraging investor capital. Beninati and his partner, James Cabrera, were sued for millions after the firm’s collapse, and Antares was stripped of most of its assets in the late-aughts.