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For Immediate Release
May 20, 2008

STATEMENT FROM ACTING BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI ON THE REVIEW OF ZONING APPROVALS ISSUED AT 303 EAST 51ST STREET

"The Buildings Department initially permitted the development at 303 East 51st Street as a residential tower. Prior to the accident on March 15, 2008, and at the request of the developer, the Department was in the midst of a review of the zoning approvals that had been granted for the site. Based on this now completed review, which included the previous decisions made regarding approvals, the Department's Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs-our chief zoning expert-has determined that the proposed construction plans do not comply with the law and must be changed. The Buildings Department has the responsibility to interpret the New York City Zoning Resolution, and the affected parties have the right to challenge the final interpretations at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

"Zoning regulations allow for a large tower to be constructed on the lot under certain conditions. The building can lawfully be as high as 40 stories or more, depending on how the owner configures the project. However, revised plans must be submitted that comply with all applicable laws before construction will be permitted to continue. Today the Department put the developer on notice that the permit for the proposed new building will be revoked if the developer fails to take steps to address the identified objections within 10 business days. Construction at the site remains halted.

"In the coming weeks, I will be seeking to increase access to information so that the public can more easily access approved zoning analyses for construction, including details on proposed height and square footage. Our employees have worked tirelessly over the past few years to make our operations open and transparent and increasing public access to approved zoning analyses will build upon this progress."

Contact:     Kate Lindquist/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473

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