City lifts stop-work order at DDG’s UES condo project

Beep Brewer accused developer of envisioning a tower “halfway to the moon”

A rendering of 180 East 88th Street
A rendering of 180 East 88th Street

The city’s Department of Buildings has lifted a stop-work order at DDG’s condominium project at 180 East 88th Street, a move that will enable the developer to resume construction on one of the Upper East Side’s tallest towers.

The DOB halted work at the planned 521-foot project in May, after neighbors and elected officials accused DDG of skirting zoning laws in order to build a taller building. DDG’s initial plans included a separate four-foot Lot On East 88th Street, which critics said the developer was using to bypass building height restrictions in the neighborhood.

But DDG, led by Joseph McMillan, maintained that there are no maximum height limits in the neighborhood’s C1-9 zoning district. The developer subsequently proposed a 10-foot-wide Lot Along East 88th Street, allowing it to move the building’s entrance off the street and to add landscaping. The DOB has now approved those amended plans.

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“We look forward to resuming construction and meeting our planned completion goal of 2018,” a representative from DDG said.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had gone after DDG, accusing the developer of ignoring the neighborhood’s zoning to “illegally build a tower halfway to the moon.” A zoning expert, George Janes, who was hired by a local preservation group, told the Wall Street Journal that DDG’s maneuvers were some of the “the most amazing zoning gymnastics I have seen in a long time.”

The 10-foot lot is considered “developable,” Alexander Schnell, a spokesperson for the DOB, told the Journal last week.

DDG paid about $70 million for the site, which combines several small lots on Third Avenue and East 88th Street. The 48-unit condo has a projected sellout of $308 million.