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City Wants Price Floor For Midtown East Air Rights Sales, Which Churches Oppose


Midtown East religious institutions have long lobbied for the ability to sell their air rights, but now that it’s on the table with the proposed rezoning, the organizations aren’t happy with the city’s intention to set a sales price floor

The city wants to set a floor—which would be adjusted every five years, unless a property owner funds a new appraisal and brings it to the city—because it could gain as much as 40% of a sale, which can be used for public improvements to the area surrounding Grand Central Terminal, Crain’s reports.  

Some are concerned air rights sales could create a price-dropping glut, but City Councilman Dan Garodnick said the floor price ensures the city gets the funds for public improvements and prevents buyers from finding price-dropping loopholes.

Central Synagogue (left), St. Bartholomew's Church Episcopal Church (right) and other religious organizations oppose the floor, as they want the highest prices to fund needed repairs, and fear the floor could get higher if the market softens, which would in turn kill developer interest.

The Archdiocese of New York, which owns St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue (central) argues the floor price could decrease the funding for public improvements and stifle the redevelopment the rezoning seeks to catalyze. [Crain’s]