East Midtown Rezoning

01/04/2013 5:07 am

The New York City Department of City Planning is proposing a rezoning strategy for 78 blocks of the East Midtown office area centered around Grand Central Terminal.

Despite its relative prominence in the city today, the area faces challenges that could undermine its competitiveness and its value over time. The average age of office buildings in East Midtown is more than 70 years old. Little new replacement office space has been developed in the area recently, with only two new office buildings constructed in the past decade.

The Department believes that current zoning controls in the area are a deterrent to new development. Many of East Midtown’s buildings are overbuilt, meaning they are built larger than would be allowed if they were demolished and reconstructed under current zoning regulations.

The Department believes that in order to stay competitive for the long term, the area needs to develop new Class A office space. Without intervention, many older office buildings over time will fall into Class B status or convert to residential or hotel use. The rezoning proposal seeks to seed the area with new, state-of-the-art office buildings through zoning incentives.

The proposal focuses new office development with the greatest as-of-right densities on large sites with full block frontage on avenues around Grand Central Terminal, and with slightly lower densities along the Park Avenue corridor. It also offers a more streamlined mechanism for transferring landmark development rights within the Grand Central Subdistrict. The proposal allows for increases in floor area on these large sites.

The Department intends to begin the public review process in the first quarter of 2013.