New York, NY—The New York Blood Center wants to build a 334-tall tower in the midblock between 1st and 2nd Avenues on E 67th, which has prompted a strong reaction from the community. The Eastsiders for Responsible Zoning formed in response to the Blood Center’s proposal, and they argue that if the project proceeds as proposed it will weaken the integrity of the R8B zoning not just on the Upper East Side but in other R8B zones in the city.
R8B zoning currently limits building heights to 75 feet, with allowances for mechanicals up to 100 feet; it is a preservation zoning district that mimics the scale of the five-story walk-up tenements that dominate the midblocks.
According to Eastsiders for Responsible Zoning and other community groups, no R8B zoning district in the Upper East Side, since it was first established in the early 1980s, has ever been rezoned.
The Blood Center appeared before Community Board 8 Manhattan’s Zoning and Development Committee in March to say that it needs to redevelop its current site on E 67th Street into a modern, 21-century building (the current building dates back to the 1930s).
On Tuesday evening, Community Board 8's Zoning and Development Committee met to discuss the project and both the Blood Center, including Selver, and Longfellow were invited, but they did not attend.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5) attended Tuesday’s meeting, citing the concerns of the community and noting, as he did in a statement to the Eastsiders for Responsible Zoning two weeks ago, that the Blood Center does very important work and can expand without a massive rezoning.
“This is why we insist that the Longfellow proposal, which would make the building as tall as a 33-story residential tower, is excessive and if allowed to go through unchecked will change our neighborhood forever. Every East Sider who could be affected by this proposal should be showing up to every Community Board and Department of City Planning meeting on the project,” said Kallos.