Scrapping the ‘Tower on Stilts’

We are thrilled to announce that 249 East 62nd Street, the poster-child example of egregious loopholes in supertalls, has been purchased by a new owner, with a new architect, and a new as-of-right design. The proposal that was dubbed the Jetsons' Building is "outta here"!

While FRIENDS hasn't yet seen the new plans for the site, Council Member Keith Powers informed the community that Zeckendorf Development LLC recently took control of the property and hired a new architect. The new residential building is expected to have 30 floors topping out at about 330 feet. These changes have not yet been reflected on DOB's website, and FRIENDS will continue to monitor the site to ensure that the new development is sensitive to the character of our neighborhood.

“The misguided Jetsons-esque condo on stilts proposal for 249 East 62nd Street catalyzed FRIENDS’ work to put a stop to height-boosting zoning loopholes, and spurred the Department of City Planning, the Fire Department, and the Mayor into action,” Rachel Levy of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts said in a statement. “Together with Council Members Keith Powers and Ben Kallos, and Borough President Gale Brewer, we’ve been fighting this building for over three years. An avenue building that conforms to zoning means that common sense has prevailed, which is enormously gratifying, and a welcome result for the community.”

- Emily Higginbotham, Our Town

This is an enormous win for FRIENDS. As the standard-bearer for the fight against zoning loopholes, we drove the successful effort to pass legislation to limit them, and we can now celebrate the demise altogether of its most outrageous example. And we have YOU to thank! Your support allows us to continue our important work.

And our work doesn't stop. FRIENDS is on the front lines fighting the next wave of buildings that would upend zoning standards. Our Town recently covered the growing community dissatisfaction with both the massive Northwell/Lenox Hill Hospital expansion plan and the aggressive midblock rezoning of the New York Blood Center.

Rachel Levy, executive director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts voiced a common concern that the Lenox Hill expansion, combined with a proposal to upzone the midblock New York Blood Center on 67th between First and Second Avenues, will set a precedent for developers looking to rezone parcels in the neighborhood: “These projects will function as a signal to developers as to what is possible in the Upper East Side and undo a careful balance that has been maintained by civic groups and residents.”

- Scott Lewis Fischbein, Our Town

Your continued support makes these fights possible, and enables FRIENDS to take on multiple Goliaths.