Gale Brewer is no shrinking violet when it comes to city planning, and having her on your side is never a bad thing. The borough president of Manhattan has just come out as a full-fledged supporter of not only Midtown East’s rezoning, but more notably, One Vanderbilt, the controversial 1,514-foot supertall slated to pop up right next door to Grand Central. Curbed reports that Brewer coupled her approval with an announcement that her office negotiated a slew of additional community benefits from developer SL Green—the developer that has already put up $210 million for the improvement of Grand Central’s subway station.
The additional perks Brewer’s office finagled will include a reforming of the building’s plaza into a more conducive public space— the current design is geared to those who work in the building. The improvements that come along with that include adding doors that open retail spaces to the plaza, and an agreement that SL Green will pay for the continued maintenance of the plaza. The transit hall will now also include benches and public restrooms, and the subway entrance sited at Vanderbilt Avenue and 42nd Street will be enlarged. The special permits that allow a FAR bonus are also being tweaked to “only consider transit improvements.”
Both proposals for the rezoning and tower are currently under ULURP consideration, but Brewer’s support will no doubt bode well for both cases.
“We are extremely pleased to have the support of Borough President Brewer for this transformative development, which is poised to deliver $210 million in public improvements in and around Grand Central Terminal,” said Robert Schiffer, Managing Director of SL Green, in a statement. “We’ve worked side by side with Borough President Brewer on refining important elements of this plan and we look forward to working with the City Planning Commission and Council Member Garodnick as the proposal proceeds through ULURP. Thank you to Borough President Brewer, her staff and to our partner organizations at the Coalition for a Better Grand Central, all of whom support improving the commute for the hundreds of thousands of daily riders that use the terminal.”