New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings by Brendan Krisel

UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Work on a planned Upper East Side development that drew the ire of local residents and spurred officials to propose changes to the city's zoning amendment has been halted by the city Department of Buildings.

The DOB issued a notice of intent to revoke permits for building plans filed for 249 E. 62nd St. — a planned 510-foot development located between Second and Third avenues — for its use of excessive void space, Department Commissioner wrote in a letter sent to local elected officials and preservation group Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts last month.

The objection requires developers to gain written approval for building plans from the New York City Fire Department that would deem the building's design safe for emergency access and other FDNY operations, according to the letter. The action is similar to the notice issued against 50 W. 66th St. on the Upper West Side.

Both 50 W. 66th St. and 249 E. 62nd St. inspired city officials to propose an amendment to the city's zoning resolution that would modify how mechanical spaces are regulated in the city's densest zoning districts.

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, took it upon himself to act as a crusader for the zoning resolution's amendment by visiting 10 of Manhattan's 12 community boards to discuss the proposal. Of those 10 community boards visited by Kallos, eight voted on resolutions to support the city's amendment and two voted to oppose the amendment but said they would switch their position if improvements were made.

Kallos' spokesman Josh Jamieson said that it's "unprecedented" for a City Council member to visit an entire borough's worth of community boards and that the office has put an "inordinate amount of attention and work" into passing the amendment.

"The borough of Manhattan has spoken and it is time to put a stop to super tall building propped
up to give billionaires better views while they leave our parks and entire communities in their
shadow," Kallos said in a statement. "Thank you to community boards throughout
Manhattan for welcoming me, their thorough engagement, lending their expertise and supporting
this vital zoning text amendment to help stop unpredictable super tall towers."

The planned development at 249 E. 62nd St. is designed by star architect Rafael Viñoly to rise 510 feet and contain just 83 apartment units, according to plans filed with the DOB. The 98,526 square feet of residential space will be located on the building's first 12 stories and the 11 stories that are stacked on top of a 152-foot-tall mechanical section of the building, according to development plans. Plans also call for an addition three stories of mechanical rooms starting on the tower's 30th floor.

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