Midtown east rezoning plan in danger

08/11/2013 7:34 pm

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick 

New Mayor de Blasio could be the key to Bloomberg's Midtown east rezoning plan. 

As the City Council prepares to vote next week on the plan to rezone one of the city's busiest commercial neighborhoods, Crain's New York is reporting that it increasingly looks like the final decision on the last major project of the Bloomberg administration may be put off until next year for the new de Blasio administration.

As part of a Department of City Planning proposal that would impact a 73-block area surrounding Grand Central Terminal in midtown east, the city would offer landlords the opportunity to increase the height and bulk of their towers by buying air rights from the city. The proceeds of those sales would be used to redevelop mass transit access and pedestrian networks in the area.

Several political leaders have also expressed reservations about the current proposal. City Councilman Daniel Gardonick, who represents the district and therefore holds the political trump card in next week's vote, has voiced concerns regarding, among other things, what he sees as the artificially low prices the city has placed on the air rights it will sell—and use to fund infrastructure improvements.

"There continue to be many open questions, including the pricing of air rights, the plan for infrastructure and public realm improvements, and whether all of the density should be added as-of-right, or with further community input," Mr. Garodnick said in a statement.

Mr. Garodnick, who has made no secret of his interest in becoming council speaker, could polish his candidacy by spearheading a drive for a successful revamping of the midtown east rezoning. He argues that the issues demand fuller consideration and more time.

According to Mr. Garodnick, that outcome is a distinctly possible one. "The Council is open to working out a responsible rezoning plan for east midtown," he said. "But if we feel we can't do it within the land use clock, we will have no hesitation taking this up with the next administration.


more at Crain's New York