City Planning clears the way for Sutton Place tower. But can it survive the City Council?

The local council member isn't hot on grandfathering the project

Jonathan Kalikow and a rendering of Sutton 58
Jonathan Kalikow and a rendering of Sutton 58

The City Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a controversial rezoning of 10 blocks in Sutton Place, while also exempting Gamma Real Estate’s 800-foot tower from the change.

The commission approved the text amendment, which requires buildings in the area to adhere to “tower on a base” standards, which means that 45 to 50 percent of a building would need to be built below 150 feet. The change would’ve downsized Gamma’s 67-story tower to a 35-story building, but the commission decided to grandfather Sutton 58, Crain’s reported.

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“I do not believe that land use applications should be wielded to stop individual developments,” said Kenneth Knuckles, vice chair of the commission. “As with many area-wide text amendments that come before us, I believe it to be important that we include a grandfathering provision to ensure that property owners are not left in the lurch with rules that change midstream.”

The application now heads to the City Council, where chances don’t look great for Gamma to escape the zoning change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who backed the a local community group’s efforts to rezone the area, indicated that he plans to remove the grandfathering clause from the application. The City Council tends to defer to the local council member when it comes to land use applications. The council is expected to vote on the zoning change by the end of the month. [Crain’s]Kathryn Brenzel