Why NYC may remove 5 stories from a nearly-finished UES condo

Real Estate Iverlad Development and architect Manuel Glas accused of deceiving city at 1059 Third Avenue
June 06, 2019 09:30AM

1059 Third Avenue as of July 2018 and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer (Credit: CityRealty and Getty Images)

1059 Third Avenue as of July 2018 and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer (Credit: CityRealty and Getty Images)

Well-organized NIMBY’s and local politicians have stopped a development in its tracks, arguing the developer didn’t conform to local zoning rules. If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, that isn’t novel.

What’s unusual in this case is the building, at 1059 Third Avenue, is nearly complete, and local officials may take the drastic step of removing floors.

The 30-story, 467-foot-tall condominium, developed by Orlando, Florida-based Real Estate Iverlad Development and Third Palm Capital, may have five more floors and 10,000 square feet more than zoning codes allow, according to Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer’s office, who has called for an investigation into the development.

Work has stopped as investigators and local agencies scramble to review plans, the New York Times reported.

“We are confident that our team will address any outstanding concerns and meet all requirements to the department’s satisfaction,” a spokesperson for Real Estate Iverlad Development said.

In a statement to the Times, architect Manuel Glas said the building and zoning plans were accurate, he complied with all local rules and the project was approved four times by the city’s Department of Buildings.

Glas’ attorney also said Brewer’s allegations were based on a misreading of zoning rules and building plans.

But Brewer’s office says a consultant hired by local neighborhood group Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts examined zoning documents and architecture plans and concluded that floor-to-area calculations didn’t match architectural drawings. He claims the extra space allowed the developer to build higher and charges loftier prices for the building’s 38 condos. The attorney general’s office accepted plans in 2018, but no sellout price has been submitted. The property was bought in 2012 for $31.5 million.

Last year, neighborhood groups famously halted Gamma Real Estate’s Sutton Place tower. And in March, a judge forced the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals to re-evaluate SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan’s tower at 200 Amsterdam. Crain’s reported that the new determination would disallow the method developers used to create a 51-story tower on a small lot. Critics said the way in which the developers assembled development rights from neighboring properties was similar to gerrymandering, and seek to reduce the height to 17 stories. [NYT]James Kleimann

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify the judge’s action on SJP and Mitsui Fudosan’s tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue.