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Manhattan Zoning Law Limits Skyscraper Projects

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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A new zoning law in Manhattan may restrict the development of future skyscrapers in a specific neighborhood, but a project that is currently underway may be exempt from the new restrictions.

According to Bloomberg, the New York City Council has voted to rezone the neighborhood along the East River, which will cap the height of all new buildings. Sutton 58 is the neighborhood’s newest skyscraper project. The foundation was 95 percent completed when the ruling passed, forcing a stop to construction that same day.

Council Ruling

The new zoning designation requires new structures to be built wider, rather than higher, noted Bloomberg. Overall, no more than 50 percent of the allowed square footage must be built in a structure that is no taller than 150 feet. What remaining square footage there is can be built vertically from that base, said Alan Kersh, president of the East River 50s Alliance, the group that pushed for the rezoning.

Ivan2010, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A new zoning law in Manhattan may restrict the development of future skyscrapers in a specific neighborhood, but a project that is currently underway may be exempt from the new restrictions.

This designation will help preserve the essence of the neighborhood’s quiet residential side streets, noted Kersh. Additionally, this would also stem the tide of commercial development in the area.

“This is an unprecedented victory for a community-led effort.”

The Alliance also made an exception for community-use properties, such as daycare centers.

Finishing the Foundation

Gamma Real Estate’s skyscraper, which is slated to stand 744 feet tall—totaling 67 stories—would be made illegal by the designation. The foundation was largely completed by the time the ruling passed, and same-day onsite construction was called to a halt.

“The council vote occurred at 4:10 and we were stopped at 4:25that is a display of the craziness that has been thrust upon us,” Jonathan Kalikow, president of Gamma Real Estate, said.

According to Kalikow, the project meets the criteria for an exemption from the rule change. The city planning commission was apparently in agreement, as last month it exempted the project from the rezoning designation.

“There is zero probability that we will not be grandfathered,” he said. “It will take time, but we are absolutely building this building.” 


Tagged categories: Construction; Government; Residential Construction

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