St. Patrick’s Cathedral $7M air rights deal blocked by exclusive men’s club

Posted On Fri, August 10, 2018 By

Posted On Fri, August 10, 2018 By In Midtown East, Policy

Image via Wikimedia

In March, the Archdiocese of New York reached a deal to sell 30,000 square feet of development rights from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to MRP Realty and Deutsche Bank, the owners of 405 Park Avenue in Midtown East. But, as Crain’s reported on Thursday, an exclusive men-only club has undercut the Archdiocese by offering the developers the deal at a lower price. The Brook, known for its billionaire clientele, will sell its air rights over its property at 111 East 54th Street to the owners of 405 Park Avenue. The owners plan to use the air rights to add four new floors to the 17-story property, a high-end office building.

The Midtown East rezoning was approved last year and affects 78 blocks running from East 39th Street to East 57th Street and from Third Avenue to Madison Avenue. The new zoning laws permit landmarks to sell and transfer unused development rights anywhere in that 78-block area. If a landmark, like St. Patrick’s, chooses to sell its air rights, it is required to pay the city a minimum of $61.49 per square foot, with proceeds going to public space improvements in East Midtown.

However, the Brook sits next to 405 Park, allowing the club to sell its air rights under pre-rezoning rules. This means they do not have to pay the city for the public upgrades, allowing them to offer the air rights at a lower price.

If the deal had stood, St. Patrick’s would have picked up at least $7.2 million in air rights and the city would have gained about $2 million in public infrastructure improvements for the area.

The first project approved under the rezoning is JPMorgan Chase’s plan to build a new 70-story world headquarters on the site of the bank’s current offices at 270 Park Avenue. Once the 2.5 million-square-foot-project is approved, construction is expected to begin in 2019 and take about five years.

[Via Crain’s]

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