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LES Luxury Waterfront Developer Stays Mum on Tower Height at Public Meeting

By Lisha Arino | July 30, 2015 1:09pm
 A rendering by CityRealty shows how Extell Development Company's new luxury tower on South Street could look like in context to the neighborhood.
A rendering by CityRealty shows how Extell Development Company's new luxury tower on South Street could look like in context to the neighborhood.
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LOWER EAST SIDE — The developer of a new luxury building under construction on the East River waterfront is keeping tightlipped about its height.

Representatives from Extell Development Company wouldn't divulge their plans for a development at 250 South St. during a community meeting on Wednesday meant to discuss construction updates and concerns.

“We are not here to address that tonight,” said Raizy Haas, Extell’s senior vice president of project management and development, when residents pressed the issue of the building's height during a question-and-answer session.

“With respect to the total number of stories or height, it’s still a work in progress and we’re not ready to give you final numbers or stories,” she continued. “When we are ready to do that we are more than happy to come back and share it with you.”

The height of the tower is a major concern to residents, who fear that it will be out of place amid the neighborhood’s mid-rise buildings.

Residents have also been curious about the ultimate height of the building because the plans have changed many times since construction began, said Trever Holland, president of the Two Bridges Tower Tenants Association, which hosted the meeting along with Community Board 3 at 82 Rutgers Slip.

The developer has amended its construction permit multiple times, according to Department of Buildings records.

In June, DOB granted a permit to build a 56-story building, but later approved an amendment that would allow for a 72-story structure, which would make the building nearly three times taller than the Manhattan Bridge. In order to build up to the new height though, the developer would still need to get a permit for it, and that has not yet been granted, according to DOB's online records. 

But Extell has refused to comment on the plan beyond its intention to build a fair market tower and an adjacent building with affordable units.

“If your neighbor, wherever you live, is building something, you would want to know what they’re building, whether it’s a two-story garage or whether they’re just renovating their apartment,” Holland said. “We’re just trying to figure out ‘what are you building?’”

Residents — particularly those who live next door to the work site — raised issues about the impact of the construction on the area surrounding it, including cracked walls in their apartments, doors that will no longer close, and the cave in of a nearby sidewalk.

Extell’s representatives said it was committed to fixing any damages caused by construction and was working with management to address them. They also urged residents to reach out by phone or email if they had any concerns.

Another construction update meeting will be held in November, Holland said.