City Planning Commission officially approves Midtown East Rezoning

Posted On Wed, June 7, 2017 By

Posted On Wed, June 7, 2017 By In Midtown East, Policy

Conceptual image depicting all of the proposed sites of the East Midtown rezoning fully built out, via CityRealty

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the long-awaited rezoning plan for Midtown East on Wednesday, which will rezone 78 blocks in hopes of modernizing the neighborhood. The plan, which was released last August, follows Mayor Bloomberg’s failed attempt to rezone the area in 2013. According to the Real Deal, the proposal would create 6.5 million square feet of new office space over the next twenty years. This would potentially encourage taller and more modern office towers, attracting more commercial and corporate tenants.

midtown east rezoning, rendering, midtown east
Image courtesy of SL Green Realty Corp

The proposal allows the tallest buildings to rise around Grand Central, increasing the maximum density by 30 percent. Plus, the owners of landmarked buildings would be able to sell their air rights across the district, rather than just to adjacent properties as current laws mandate. To build out their office spaces, property owners could purchase from a pool of 3.5 million square feet of landmarked air rights. The Real Estate Board of New York opposed the $393 per-square-foot price set for air rights because the steep expense may discourage any deals from happening.

Next, the City Council will consider the proposal as part of the city’s land-use review process (ULURP). Council member Dan Garodnick, who represents the neighborhood and opposed, and essentially killed, the 2013 rezoning proposal, has taken the lead on this updated plan. This week, he proposed a bill that would require the city to audit any air rights sale in the district, but it’s not known if this would eliminate the floor price.

The plan will create 16 new office buildings with 600,000 square feet of retail. Plus, the proposal targets the following transit hubs for improvement:

  • Lexington Avenue/53rd Street and 51st Street (E,M,6)
  • Lexington Avenue/59th Street (N,Q,R,4,5,6)
  • Fifth Avenue/53rd Street (E,M)
  • Rockefeller Center/47th-50th Street (B,D,F,M)
  • Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue (B,D,F,M,7)
  • Grand Central (4,5,6,7,S)

[Via The Real Deal]

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Neighborhoods : Midtown East

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