Assemblymember Seawright calls for Extell developer to clean up Upper East Side construction site


Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright stood in front of a vacant lot on the Upper East Side, saying that its developer, Extell, needs to clean up its act. (Photo courtesy of Assemblywoman Seawright’s office)

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright called on Extell Development Corporation’s founder Gary Barnett to clean up an Upper East Side vacant lot his company owns calling it a “public health risk.”

The lawmaker said that multiple residents have complained about dust, rats and the site’s unreliable light fixture stating that some passersby feel unsafe walking on the dark, uneven sidewalks in front of the former demolition site on First Avenue between East 79th and East 80th streets.

Seawright also worries about the lot’s damaged surrounding trees, “another casualty of the ongoing changes to the site” in a press release.

Despite numerous requests to the site owners, there is still no plan to address the vacant parcel’s rodent problem, a statement from Seawright said. According to Patch, the number of complaints from residents about the site went up when Extell demolished a row of vacant buildings on the block in May.

However, the same day that Seawright stood in front of the lot and called for action, Extell sent a letter to the Assemblywoman stating that the company regularly uses a pest-control service to prevent mice or rats from living at the site and have not seen any rodents. The letter also stated that a new lighting fixture will be installed near the site by the end of next week and that the city’s parks department is the entity responsible for tending to lots surrounding trees.