After winning 3 Sutton Place at auction, Gamma files plans for 850-foot tower

Firm says it submitted documents to "safeguard the property" while it weighs its options
By E.B. Solomont | December 29, 2016 12:07PM

3 Sutton Place and N. Richard Kalikow

Having prevailed in a lawsuit, foreclosure proceeding and high-stakes bankruptcy auction for one of the city’s most talked-about development sites, Gamma Real Estate officially filed plans for an 844-foot residential tower at 3 Sutton Place.

N. Richard Kalikow’s firm, which paid $98 million for the site and air rights earlier this month, submitted plans to build a 67-story tower with 389 apartments. The 262,069-square-foot building would have two units per floor on floors two through 66; amenities on the first five floors will include a playroom, lounge, gym and conference room, according to an application filed Wednesday with the city’s Department of Buildings.

The official plans come just weeks after Gamma finally wrested control of the site from Joseph Beninati’s Bauhause Group, which had assembled the site with $147 million in three high-interest loans from Gamma. At a foreclosure auction earlier this month, Gamma outbid Brooklyn investor Isaac Hager, paying $86 million for the site plus $12 million to secure additional air rights.

But Gamma isn’t necessarily planning to develop the tower on its own, or at all. Firm president Jonathan Kalikow said Gamma filed building plans at 3 Sutton Place to “safeguard the property” while it weighs its options, which include finding a joint venture partner, moving forward on its own or selling the site.

“Obviously one of the big issues is getting the project started and making sure we got moving so its not a stalled project like its been for the past year,” he told The Real Deal. “We’re just eager to get past the bankruptcy, past the foreclosure and put that behind us and really achieve the ultimate goal, which is to get repaid.”

Beninati previously proposed a 950-foot-tall tower designed by Norman Foster at 3 Sutton Place, prompting outcry from Midtown East residents who later proposed a downzoning to cap the height of the building at 260 feet.

But Beninati had bigger problems at hand: In January, he defaulted on the $147 million, high-interest loans from Gamma and subsequently filed for bankruptcy to try to avoid foreclosure. In September, a bankruptcy court approved the sale of the project.