New Construction / Unwelcome Towers

CIVITAS is concerned with the scale of projects recently being proposed in East Harlem and in the Upper East Side Historic District. One such site is at Park Avenue and 125th Street. Initially proposed as a 55-story tower, it was scaled back to 45 stories, in part due to CIVITAS’ opposition. It is still too tall. The original developer has backed out and its successor has presented a slightly revised plan.

Another troubling project is Uptown NY, a proposed two-and-a-half block development between 125th and 127th Streets stretching from Third to Second Avenues. CIVITAS protested the scale of this project, which included a 450-foot tower – 45 stories – and urged that the project, which is to provide for 1,500 residential units, be redesigned to blend better with the context of the neighborhood. A lower and less dense alternative with provisions for affordable housing has been proposed in its place.

In the Upper East Side Historic District CIVITAS filed its opposition to a proposed 330-foot glass tower atop the Park-Bernet Golbries on Madison Avenue. In January 2007 the Landmarks Preservation commission rejected the proposal.

Lurking on the horizon is a proposal by the Mount Sinai Medical Center to erect a high-rise apartment tower – to be sold to a developer – above a new laboratory and scientific research building. The apartment tower would loom over Central Park and alter the look of that skyscape. Approval by the Board of Standards and Appeals is required for a zoning variance.