Bauhouse’s Joseph Beninati needs partner for 3 Sutton Place … or he’ll sell

Developer out for collaborators to help finance $650M condo tower

From left: Joseph Beninati, a rendering of 3 Sutton Place and Sutton Place today
From left: Joseph Beninati, a rendering of 3 Sutton Place and Sutton Place today

Neighborhood opposition to his 3 Sutton Place project continues to grow, and Joseph Beninati needs a friend to lean on. And if that friend can also help finance the $650 million development, so much the better.

The Bauhouse Group head has been looking for “months” for a partner willing and able to help him bankroll the tower, slated to cost about $650 million. He’s even hired Cushman & Wakefield to help with the search, the New York Times reported.

“It’s a real opportunity to do something special,” Beninati said, “but if a joint venture partner doesn’t show up, I’ll have no choice but to sell.”

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The 268,000-square-foot condo tower, designed by Foster + Partners, will stand 90 stories. Bauhouse finished assembling the land and air rights for the site earlier this month, paying $38 million.

Opposition to the project from local residents has been fierce, with residents of 16 co-ops and condominiums in the area forming an alliance against the project, hiring lawyers and politician consultants, and recruiting public officials including Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer. The naysayers — which includes an 81-year-old holdout who has reportedly refused a very generous buyout offer — are seeking a rezoning to block the proposal.

“We can’t have a city where people can just change the rules when they feel like it,” Beninati said in response.

Last month, area residents accused Bauhouse of misleading them as to the size of the planned tower, also known as 426-432 East 5th Street, saying they were told it would rise only 13 to 30 stories. Bauhouse responded by saying plans for the project had changed over time. [NYT]Ariel Stulberg