For several years the empty lot at 249 East 62nd Street was the most outrageous example of zoning loopholes in supertall towers. The absurd Jetsons-esque rendering of the proposed building with a 150 foot void artificially inflating its height to a whopping 510 feet helped FRIENDS catalyze former Mayor de Blasio, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council to establish limits on excessive mechanical space in residential buildings.
Though there is still work to be done in this area, FRIENDS is happy to provide an update on the much more reasonable building under construction on the site. As we reported in December 2020, Zeckendorf Development took over the site and filed new plans with a new architect. As of last week, construction has topped topped out, around 170 feet shorter than what was previously proposed. This difference represents 32% of the building's height. While this is still a tall building, it conforms much more to the pattern of reasonable development on Second Avenue and elsewhere in the neighborhood. Like other surrounding developments, the building has a base which rises to 100 feet, followed by a setback and tower rising to 347 feet. Though renderings are not yet available, we understand the materials will be terra-cotta and bronze-colored metal.
When compared to the original bulk proposed for this site, the improvement is clear – the building is much more in keeping with the varied character of the Upper East Side’s avenues. As the leading voice in the fight against zoning loopholes on the Upper East Side, this development is an enormous win for FRIENDS. It is your continued support that makes this work possible to support sensible development in our neighborhood.