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Midtown East Rezoning Clears One Of Its Final Hurdles

Rendering of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.

The Midtown East rezoning, years in the making, is in the home stretch.

The proposed rezoning enters the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure this week—a process expected to take about seven months, the New York Post reports.

The rezoning’s current incarnation will cover a formidable footprint, bounded by 39th and 57th streets and Third and Fifth avenues in the heart of one of the densest thickets of office towers in the world.

It’s not dense enough, according to the rezoning’s chief backers, who include outgoing city planning commission chief Carl Weisbrod and city council member Dan Garodnick, whose district includes the proposed rezoning area.

If it becomes law, the neighborhood, over about a 20-year period, could gain 6M SF of new offices with a total of as much as 15M SF of brand-new space — most of it the result of tear-downs that weren’t allowed under previous zoning regulations, which dates back to 1961.

The latest proposal differs from previous plans that stumbled before becoming law because it requires landlords to make public improvements happen. For example, sellers of air rights will have to put $78 per SF in proceeds from any of those sales into a “public realm” fund for sidewalk-level improvements. Developers can boost their allowed density by paying for and building subway improvements at six stations within the rezoning area.

The area's boosters hope the influx of modern office space will be attractive to companies that demand the most technologically advanced space and will help slow the exodus to places like Hudson Yards, the World Trade Center and parts of Brooklyn. [NYP]