A new lawsuit has brought a skirmish over a residential skyscraper on the Upper East Side to new heights.
State Sen. Liz Krueger, City Councilman Ben Kallos, and two neighborhood groups are challenging the city’s approval of a residential building with an art gallery, currently under construction at 180 East 88th St.
DDG Partners’ structure is slated to rise 524 feet, when including mechanical equipment.
In a lawsuit recently filed in New York County Supreme Court, the Upper East Side groups claimed DDG Partners created a micro-lot to skirt zoning rules that would have otherwise limited the building’s height to about 300- to 350-feet, according to estimates from Kallos’ office.
The lawsuit alleges DDG Partners created a small zoning lot where its property borders 88th Street, which it transferred to an entity created exclusively to own the new buffer lot. DDG Partners then successfully argued the rest of the property does not border 88th Street, according to the lawsuit. This allowed DDG Partners to avoid zoning rules requiring buildings along 88th Street to use tower-on-a-base designs, where 55 percent of the building’s bulk is concentrated below a height of 150 feet, according to the lawsuit. The design standard can indirectly limit the overall altitude of buildings.
The Upper East Side groups have taken a number of steps to challenge the city’s interpretations of the zoning rules and attempt to halt the project, including appealing its decision with the city Board of Standards and Appeals.