New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos
This website is maintained for historical purposes.
Ben Kallos is no longer a candidate for Manhattan Borough President or any other office.

Stop Billionaire's Row

Billionaire's Row from Central Park

After years of out-of-control, out-of-scale over-development, I wanted to put residents over real estate, and we did. In late 2017 we accomplished what many described as impossible. We won the first of its kind grass-roots community rezoning in this City for the Sutton Area.

With the invaluable help of the committed members of the East River Fifties Alliance, we stopped the march of super-tall buildings for billionaires from 57th Street into the Sutton Area. The rezoning initially removed the grandfather clause and will protect the Sutton Area East of First Avenue from 52nd to 59th st. from future supertall towers by limiting zoning lot mergers, limiting the width of towers, and forcing most of the air rights to be used in the base of a building.

We were able to accomplish this thanks to the support of residents like you. Heroes like Herndon Werth and Charles Fernandez stood up to buyouts and threats from billionaires. Leaders like Dieter Seelig, former President of the Sutton Area Community got us started and Alan Kersh, Robert Shepler, Jessica Osborn, and Lisa Mercurio put countless volunteer hours into ERFA.

Following our historic rezoning the Board of Standards and Appeals grandfathered the building despite all the illegal conduct of the developer. When we appealed the BSA ruling asking the courts to uphold the law, they refused. We continue to fight in court with a motion to re-argue and have already filed for an appeal.

Though the fate of this one building remains in question, if it were not for the rezoning we accomplished more than one other supertall would be up by now and more could be on the way.
Join the fight against overdevelopment at