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Press Releases

Tuesday, November 01, 2011
No. 84

City Of New York And Sutton Place South Corporation Announce Historic Agreement To Create Public Park

Establishing a model for future public-private partnerships, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Sutton Place South Corporation (SPSC) resolved a 10-year boundary dispute by agreeing to transform a portion of One Sutton Place South’s current backyard into a 10,000-square-foot waterfront public park with dramatic views of the East River.

The City and SPSC have each agreed to contribute $1 million to share the $2 million anticipated cost of designing and constructing the passive park, which will connect two existing community parks located at the eastern ends of 56th and 57th Streets. City Council Member Jessica Lappin arranged for the City’s portion of the funds to be allocated out of the City's capital budget. SPSC is the cooperative apartment corporation that owns the 13-story co-op apartment building located at Sutton Place South between 56th and 57th Streets on the east side of Manhattan.

“It is always gratifying to generate a positive outcome from a difficult situation,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Instead of prolonging a boundary line dispute, neighborhood and building residents will enjoy a public garden terrace overlooking the East River. We are grateful to the Sutton Place South Corporation for partnering with the City to create a beautiful new park, and to Council Member Jessica Lappin for allocating essential funds that will help make these improvements a reality.”

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that provides a valuable amenity for our community,” said SPSC President Lucy Lamphere. “We thank Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and his colleagues for their assistance in creating a plan that respects the building’s architectural integrity and balances its residents’ desire to maintain a reasonable degree of privacy while providing beautiful and much-needed park space for our neighbors. We are also grateful for the support of our City Council member, Jessica Lappin, for securing a portion of the funding necessary for this project.”

“This agreement ends a decade-long dispute, including litigation, while enabling the construction of a stunning new waterfront park,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo. “It is the result of years of hard work, and we are gratified that the public will benefit from the outcome.”

City Council Member Lappin also applauded the resolution. “This is a monumental achievement,” she said. “We've done what people said we never could. The City and One Sutton Place have worked together in a collaborative and positive way. As a result, all New Yorkers will now have access to a beautiful piece of the waterfront."
The settlement resolves a dispute regarding the property behind One Sutton Place South, which sits atop a roof deck over a section of the FDR Drive. The boundary line separating SPSC’s privately-owned property and property owned by the City was based on the location of the high water line of the East River. The contours of that line were affected by development and environmental changes.
Immediate details of the settlement include the following:

· SPSC will release its claim to ownership of part of the disputed property closest to the East River, and the City will, in turn, release its claim to ownership of a portion of the disputed property closest to SPSC’s building.

· The Parks Department will convert its portion of disputed property into a passive public park. SPSC has at its expense engaged renowned landscape architect David Kamp of Dirtworks to design the park, which will be open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The NYC Parks Department was represented by Alessandro G. Olivieri, Parks Department general counsel and Susan M. Shapiro, senior counsel at the New York City Law Department. The legal team also included Mary Richman and Michael J. Wasser of the New York City Law Department. The Sutton Place South Corporation was represented by Peter Neger and J. Goodwin Bland, partners in Bingham McCutchen LLP’s New York office.
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Contact: Vickie Karp / Philip Abramson (NYC Parks) (212) 360-1311
Kate O’Brien Ahlers / Elizabeth Thomas (NYC Law) (212) 788-0400
Claire Papanastasiou (SPSC) (617) 951-8881

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