New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Bloomberg Business

Bloomberg Business New York to Developers: Stop Using Empty Space to Make Your Buildings Taller by Sydney Maki

New York to Developers: Stop Using Empty Space to Make Your Buildings Taller

Critics see the practice as potentially dangerous, forcing firefighters or medical workers responding to an emergency to cover much greater distances -- sometimes unanticipated, since the voids aren’t numbered floors.

“It is a symptom of everything that is becoming wrong with our society that developers would rather build empty spaces in buildings for billionaires than affordable housing,” said New York City Council member Ben Kallos. “We’re not saying that you can’t do this. What we’re saying is that if you have a limited amount of floor area that you can use to put up a building, then you have to use that floor area.”

Bloomberg Business NYC Neighborhood Braces for a New Round Against Supertall Condo by Kristy Westgard

NYC Neighborhood Braces for a New Round Against Supertall Condo

In granting Gamma a six-month extension Tuesday, the board “ignored the law and the facts in order to rubber-stamp a developer’s bad conduct,” Ben Kallos, the city councilman who led the rezoning campaign, said in a phone interview. “We’re going to have to go to the courts, which will hopefully have less political influence.”

Work on Sutton 58, in the Sutton Place neighborhood along the East River, was halted in December when the city council approved regulations capping the height of all new buildings in the area. Gamma had been racingagainst the clock to lay the tower’s foundation before the vote, which would have exempted the project from the new rules. At the time, the developer said it was just 10 work days away from completing the foundation, so the six-month extension effectively would allow the tower to be built to its full height.

Bloomberg Business NYC Developer Races Against Rules That Would Cut Tower in Half by Oshrat Carmiel

NYC Developer Races Against Rules That Would Cut Tower in Half

A fresh proposal, drafted with input from members of the city planning department, is scheduled for public hearing on Oct. 18, paving the way for a possible approval by the city council in November, said Ben Kallos, a councilman who is one of the applicants seeking rezoning.

“All along, this has been a race to the finish,” Kallos, the councilman, said in an interview. “I hope to vote on it as soon as possible. Communities want a say in how their neighborhoods are developed.”

 

Bloomberg Business Sutton Place rezoning proposal seeks to block 90-story tower by Oshrat Carmiel

Sutton Place rezoning proposal seeks to block 90-story tower

“We are racing the clock, but I would warn any investor that this is a poor investment,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, one of the applicants on the rezoning proposal filed with the city planning department. “This neighborhood will rezone before this building can go up. I’m so tired of people saying that ‘as of right’ means the community can do nothing.”