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UES Neighbors Fear Planned Residential Tower Will Enshroud Guggenheim In Shadows: Gothamist

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A forthcoming high-rise development on the Upper East Side could compromise several landmarked buildings, including the Guggenheim, a new lawsuit states. Renato Negrin and Scott Wilson live in separate buildings close to the development site, located at 1230 Madison Avenue. Together the two neighbors have filed a suit against the New York City Department of Buildings, stating that the “proposed height and bulk of the project” will cause them both to lose “valuable air, light and views” at their respective residences located on 50 East 89th Street and 47 East 88th Street.

Back in August, developer Real Estate Equities Corporation filed permits to build a 208-foot tall building with 3,840 square feet dedicated to commercial use, and 51,900 square feet for residential use, according to New York YIMBY. The plans call for 15 very spacious apartments, averaging 3,460 square feet each. When reached over the phone, Real Estate Equities stated they were no longer involved with the project. (Department of Building records show list CB Developers as being involved. The DOB did not immediately return Gothamist’s request for comment.)

The project is not considered to be part of the Carnegie Hill Historic District, and isn’t a landmark itself, according to ZoLA records. This means it’s being built as-of-right, meaning it’s not subject to protections under the Landmarks Preservation Commission, nor does it need to go through any public review. Community Board 8, which represents the district, confirmed to Gothamist that it hadn’t received any applications for the property.

But the suit claims that the new foundation from the ongoing development, thought to hover at 16 stories when topped off, threatens the adjoining building’s foundation and four landmarked buildings in the area, including St. David’s School and The Guggenheim. The museum, which was declared a historic landmark in 2008, “will be impacted aesthetically based upon shadows and the infringement of light that will be cast over this important irreplaceable landmarked public resource,” according to the complaint.

Negrin and Wilson say they filed a Freedom of Information Law request to see the development plans back in October to learn how it would impact them, in addition to “the structural stability of surrounding buildings” and “architectural integrity of recognized and registered landmarked buildings.” But they claim the request has gone unanswered for months, and that the project has been moving forward in a “self-certified” way, and “without public scrutiny,” according to the complaint.

On Tuesday, they submitted a petition for the DOB to grant the FOIL request.

Jack Lester, the attorney representing Negrin and Wilson in the case, told Gothamist that there are additional concerns that the building’s height would make it out of character with the surrounding community.

Lester says that the Department of Buildings “refuse[s] to disclose anything to the community” and that they are “shrouding the plans in secrecy.” The two are calling for the FOIL request to be granted posthaste as well as a protection plan, made by the DOB as well as the Landmarks Preservation Commission, that will monitor the ongoing construction.

The Guggenheim declined to comment on this story.





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