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City Proposal Could Give Midtown East Long-Sought Rezoning


The city took the first step in the long-awaited rezoning process for Midtown East this Monday.

The government published a plan to increase the permitted maximum density by 30% and allow taller office towers. The tallest buildings will be built around Grand Central Station, along Park Avenue and near subway stations, reflecting the city’s desire to increase density around transit hubs, Crain's reports.

The proposal would also allow owners of landmarked buildings to sell air rights throughout the district, something that has been demanded by religious sites for years. Those who wish to achieve maximum densities would have to invest in transit infrastructures or buy landmarked properties’ air rights. These clauses were recommendations of a steering committee chaired by Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer and city councilman Daniel Garodnick, which met last year. 

With the potential to be worth billions of dollars in construction and real estate spending, a rezoning has been a focus of developers and planners for years. The Bloomberg administration attempted a similar zoning in 2013, but it was eventually killed. 

The city predicts the rezoning will result in 16 new towers, totaling 6.6M SF of office space for 26,507 new workers. The neighborhood currently holds 70M SF, 5% of which was built in the last two decades. 

The city has to hold a public meeting—scheduled for Sept. 22—to review the documents and gauge the effect of the rezoning on surrounding neighborhoods. [Crain's]