Preservationists are trying to prevent another Billionaires’ Row

One57 on Billionaire’s Row

A war is raging in midtown between old money preservationists and developers who won’t stop building giant towers on billionaires’ row.

The Municipal Art Society is the latest civic group to jump into battle, and is proposing new rules for building towers in midtown, including a public review process for any building taller than 600 feet and a stop to any proposed towers until that time. “We do believe that some of these things should not be built as of right,” Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the society, told the Wall Street Journal.

Right now, developers are able to build towers in midtown as tall as they want without any public review process, because the zoning in the area does not specify a height limit. This has led to controversial towers like One57 and 432 Park popping up, turning 57th Street into so-called billionaires’ row.

There is already a movement to restrict height limits on buildings a bit further east of billionaires’ row in Sutton Place. A grassroots campaign from well-connected New Yorkers called the East River Fifties’ Alliance is working there to prevent construction of an 800-foot tower they say would be out-of-place. The group received approval from the community board and the borough president Gale Brewer last week. [WSJ]