UES Rental to be Demolished, Replaced by Luxury Condo

985 Fifth Ave rendering

Rendering c/o Studio Sofield and SLCE Architects

A rental building on the Upper East Side will be demolished and replaced by high-end luxury condominiums, with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s firm leading the project.


East Side Feed reported back in November 2022 that Spitzer’s firm filed plans to demolish and build a new luxury condominium for the top 1% of buyers. On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved those plans. The 25-story, 46-unit structure currently rents apartments up to $30,000 per month and is located at 985 Fifth Avenue (between East 79th and East 80th streets). The rental was built back in the late 1960s by Bernard Spitzer, the former governor’s late father, who, at the time, demolished three historic townhouses initially built in the early 1900s for his 25-story building to go up.

Now, the commission has deemed the current building incongruent with the aesthetic of the Metropolitan Museum Historic District, approving for demolition to begin next year with a projected completion anticipated sometime in 2028. The new design by Studio Sofield and SLCE will feature a limestone facade with setbacks and rise to 19 stories, first reported by The Real Deal. The new luxury condo intends to fit in with the historic district, and the step-backs will be on the 13th, 18th, and 19th floors, and including the crown. In addition, a sculpture of a squirrel with an acorn and a dog fountain will be constructed at the front entrance of the new building.

Rendering c/o Studio Sofield and SLCE Architects

While some members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission expressed satisfaction with the building’s demolition and the desire for the new structure to fit into the neighborhood cohesively, others, like Lucie Levine from the Historic Districts Council, voiced concern.


Levine questioned the complete demolition, noting, “This is a robust post-war structure that contains an immense amount of stored energy that should be added onto and not demolished. Given that the greenest buildings in the world are those that already exist, we see no compelling reason to take down one building and replace it with another.”

As Eliot Spitzer’s firm moves forward with this ambitious project, it aims to integrate prewar design in a modern context, bringing new and even more luxurious living to the Upper East Side.


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