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Old Posted Jul 1, 2015, 3:52 AM
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News for the greater Midtown East Rezoning:

East Midtown Rezoning Plan Moves Forward

June 30, 2015

Manhattan's East Midtown area is one step closer to allowing for denser buildings. The East Midtown steering committee, set up to consider how to boost development in what was once a marquee commercial district, held its final meeting Tuesday.

The group has recomdended a proposal to city planners that would free up landmarked properties to sell the space above their properties, or unused air rights, anywhere within the East Midtown zoning district.

The cost of the development rights would be negotiated by the buyer and seller.

"Landmarks like St. Patrick's Cathedral, or St. Barts or Central Synagogue, or even Grand Central itself will be able to sell their air rights throughout the entire district," said city councilman Dan Garodnick, who co-chaired the steering committee.

Such sales are limited now to adjacent properties.

The city would then take a percentage of each sale of development rights and put those funds toward public improvements in the district.

An earlier failed proposal to rezone East Midtown put forth by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration would have allowed the city to charge $250 per square foot for air rights, that developers could purchase if they had a qualified site within the district.

"We've been working on a plan for East Midtown for over a year, and we’ve arrived at a framework that balances and addresses this neighborhood’s needs, including securing its landmarks, improving the transit system, building new high-quality office space, and creating open space," said Gale Brewer, Manhattan borough president, the steering committee co-chair.

But the city would have priced the development rights at the same amount, even though they'd likely be worth more, for example, at 57th Street and Park Avenue, than they would at 39th and Third Avenue.

The new proposal would also allow developers to make transit upgrades in exchange for receiving a building height and density bonus.

City planners will consider the proposal and enter it into the city's formal land use review process.

Last month, the New York City Council approved plans for a 63-story office tower in East Midtown, at One Vanderbilt.
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