air rights

Midtown East, Policy

One Vanderbilt, KPF Midtown East, SL Greene, Rezoning, Supertall Skyscrapers (14)

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.

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navy yard, Policy, Transportation

BQX, Brooklyn Queens Connector, mayor de blasio streetcar

Although Mayor de Blasio’s proposed BQX project, which would connect the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts via streetcar, received praise from many, finding money to fund it may be tougher than expected. Earlier this month, a leaked memo obtained by the Daily News laid out a tough assessment of the construction logistics and financial problems facing the project. And while the mayor admitted last week that his plan for the BQX to be self-funded through tax revenue from higher real estate values may not pan out, an article in Crain’s laid out an idea for the city to sell air rights in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood to raise money for the project.

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Midtown West, Policy

Image via Wiki Commons

The de Blasio administration pulled the plug Monday on proposed legislation that would give the city a 20 percent cut of any air rights sales in midtown Manhattan’s Theater District, according to Crain’s. The reversal followed disputes with City Council members over a key element–a floor price for the sales. The proposal had been part of a long effort to get theater owners to up the amount they contribute to a fund used for venue maintenance and support for smaller theaters. There is now speculation as to whether the move could cast a shadow on the administration’s Midtown East rezoning plan, which is a similar policy initiative.

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Midtown West, Policy

In November, the City Planning Commission voted to raise the cost of air rights transfers in the Theater District, allowing the city to take a 20 percent cut of any sales and establishing a minimum floor price of $346, a roughly 400 percent increase over the current $17.60 flat fee that they feel will be more in line with current property values. Despite vocal opposition from the Real Estate Board of New York, who back Theater District landlords and believe the increase is “is onerous, excessive and unfair,” this month the Commission is hoping to have the proposal approved by the City Council, reports Crain’s.

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Midtown East, Policy

One Vanderbilt, KPF Midtown East, SL Greene, Rezoning, Supertall Skyscrapers (14)

Plans to rezone Midtown East are few steps closer to reality with the start of the new year. The Department of City Planning has certified a rezoning proposal for the area surrounding Grand Central, and the city kicked off its official land-use review process Tuesday. The next step for the rezoning plans will be the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which includes review by community boards 5 and 6, the Manhattan borough president, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The zoning proposal could add 6.5 million square feet of commercial space to the 73-block district in the form of 16 larger, more modern buildings that would replace old ones, breathing new life into the office zone that New York Post real estate columnist Steve Cuozzo recently referred to as “iconic but declining.”

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Midtown East, Policy

St. Patrick's Cathedral

At the end of August, the city released its long-awaited, very controversial Midtown East Rezoning plan. In addition to allowing 16 new towers to spring up in the area bound by Madison and Third Avenues and 39th and 50th Streets, the upzoning will “permit owners of landmarked buildings to sell their air rights across the district, rather than just to adjacent properties like the current law dictates,” as 6sqft previously explained. The following month, the city embarked on a study of these unused development rights, which would amount to an additional 3.6 million square feet over the next 20 years. And part of their conclusion is that they’re considering taking a 20 percent cut of these air rights sales, reports Politico.

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Midtown West, Policy

The City Planning Commission has voted to up the cost of air rights transfers in the special Midtown Manhattan district that includes Broadway’s theaters, The Real Deal reports. Currently, when developers purchase air rights from theaters between West 40th and West 57th Streets from Sixth to Eighth Avenues, they pay $17.60 per square foot to the Theater Subdistrict Fund. Transferable development rights can usually only be used for adjacent properties, but the city created the special district in 1998 to help the theater industry thrive amid sharply rising real estate prices; within the district, air rights can be moved more freely in a larger area outside the usual “arms length” restrictions.

What does this mean for Broadway theaters?

Midtown East, Policy

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Last week, the city released their long-awaited Midtown East Rezoning plan, a controversial upzoning of the area bound by Madison and Third Avenues and 39th and 50th Streets that would encourage taller, more modern office towers to attract commercial tenants. One of the debated points is the proposal to permit owners of landmarked properties to sell their air rights across the district, whereas now they can only be transferred to sites directly adjacent or above the existing structure. The city has now embarked on an appraisal of these unused development rights, which amount to 3.6 million square feet and will likely be distributed to the 16 new towers that the rezoning would yield over the next 20 years.

As Crain’s explains, hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, which is part of the reason Mayor Bloomberg’s 2013 attempt at the rezoning failed–opponents were concerned about “the difference between what could be built on a given parcel (such as a soaring office tower) and what actually sits on the site (a church or synagogue a few stories tall).”

More details ahead

Major Developments, Midtown East, Urban Design

One Vanderbilt, KPF Midtown East, SL Greene, Rezoning, Supertall Skyscrapers (14)

Conceptual image depicting all the proposed sites of the East Midtown rezoning fully built out. Courtesy CityRealty

After Mayor Bloomberg’s failed 2013 attempt, the city has released its long-awaited Midtown East Rezoning plan, a controversial upzoning of the area bound by Madison and Third Avenues and 39th and 50th Streets, which would encourage taller, more modern office towers in an area that many feel is no longer attracting commercial tenants.

According to Crain’s, their proposal, the first step in the formal rezoning process, would allow the tallest buildings around Grand Central, increasing the maximum density by 30 percent. Along Park Avenue and near subway stations north of the Terminal, density would be increased, too. The proposal also will permit owners of landmarked buildings to sell their air rights across the district, rather than just to adjacent properties like the current law dictates.

More details ahead

Featured Story

CityRealty, Features, NYC Guides, Policy, real estate trends, stuff you should know, Urban Design

Stuff You Should Know: How Air Rights Work

By Diane Pham, Thu, March 3, 2016

ONE57 tower new york christian de portzamparc

Image of One57 © Wade Zimmerman courtesy of Agence Christian de Portzamparc (ACDP)

“For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell.”

Most folks outside the architecture and real estate industries are likely to believe that putting up a new skyscraper is simply about finding an empty lot to build up. However, those in the know understand that it takes much more than a stretch of space and a good engineer to lock in neck-craning heights. So, how do developers squeeze ever more building onto small lots? Two words: air rights.

Ahead we will go through the history of air rights in New York City and how imaginative but completely lawful interpretations of zoning laws have opened up the city skyline to crazy tall towers like One57 and 432 Park (“You can be really creative the way you snake your way around the block,” says Thomas Kearns, Partner at Olshan Law Firm). We’ll also find out just how much owners of Manhattan’s precious air space can squeeze out of developers that want to build big.

LEARN MORE ABOUT AIR RIGHTS IN NYC…

 

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