Rendering: Handel Architects.
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has extended a temporary halt on the Two Bridges high-rise development after hearing testimony on several lawsuits aimed at the controversial project in the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Gothamist reports. As 6sqft previously reported, several groups of Lower East Side residents and other community organizations filed a lawsuit against the city to stop four skyscrapers from rising in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood. The lawsuits accuse the city of illegally approving the multi-billion dollar project, claiming the City Planning Commission bypassed City Council authority regarding the land-use review process and that one of the towers violates a 32-year-old deed restriction that ensures housing for low-income residents with disabilities and the elderly.
‘An 800-pound gorilla’
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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As part of a five-year, $210 million plan to significantly upgrade Grand Central’s subway station, developer SL Green hopes to install new staircases to the train platforms, two new street-level entrances and a refurbished mezzanine level, and a 4,000-square-foot ground-level commuter waiting area. The improvements were conceived in conjunction with the MTA and the de Blasio administration earlier this year as the first component of the Midtown East Rezoning project.
The transit upgrades must all be completed before tenants can occupy One Vanderbilt (planned for completion in January 2020), SL Green’s new 65-story office tower planned for the entire block west of Grand Central and north of East 42nd Street. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the tower will be the second-tallest building in the city when completed.
More on the upgrades ahead