Gamma Races To Complete Foundation For East Side Tower To Beat Rezoning
On Nov. 16, the City Planning Commission voted to approve a rezoning of 10 blocks of the Upper East Side neighborhood that would prevent future skyscrapers like Gamma's Sutton 58 project, but with a grandfather clause allowing the 800-foot condo tower to continue. Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the area, is attempting to remove that clause before it hits the greater city council for a vote, The Real Deal reports.
If the Council approves the change, Gamma would have to apply to the Board of Standards of Appeals to complete the project. BSA guidelines stipulate that if the foundation has made "significant progress," then work can continue despite a rezoning. Gamma founder and CEO Richard Kalikow claims that the foundation for the tower at 3 Sutton Place is three weeks away from completion, but even if the appeal to the BSA is successful, the process would take months.
“The only upshot of removing the grandfathering clause would be to punish us monetarily, but also to displace and furlough a bunch of workers who really don’t deserve it,” Kalikow told a zoning subcommittee hearing, according to TRD.
Lendlease Construction is the general contractor on the project, and an employee testified that such a delay would "stop [his] life" and the lives of his family. Kallos said that removing the grandfather clause could delay a council vote on the rezoning until after the foundation is fully complete, which would also allow the construction to continue uninterrupted.
Gamma and Lendlease are doing all they can to remove the uncertainty and complete the foundation, applying for and receiving multiple after-hours construction exemptions from the Department of Buildings since June 3 to work on Saturdays, according to TRD. Gamma purchased the development site from Bauhouse Group in a foreclosure auction in December 2016 after its loan to Bauhouse went into default.