Midtown East rezoning proposal will keep NY competitive

The Real Estate Board of New York welcomes the city’s rezoning proposal to invigorate development in Midtown East. This proposal will strengthen Midtown East as the world’s premier office district by attracting new businesses and helping keep New York City on competitive footing with other world cities.

Midtown East, located between Third and Fifth Avenues from 39th Street to 57th Street, is a key job center in NYC. This rezoning proposal is needed to offer the kind of space that people want to work in.

It would inject new vigor into a market that has seen very little new development since the 1980’s when the city nudged new development to the west side with a series of zoning changes and tax incentives.

The proposed FAR is different for each section of Midtown East. The Grand Central Core would have an as of right FAR of 24 and property owners could go to a 30 FAR through a special permit. For the Park Avenue Corridor, the as of right FAR would be 21.6, and a special permit is needed to go to a 24 FAR. The Expanded Grand Central Sub-District (which is generally a one block perimeter around the core) and the remaining areas of the district would have an as of right FAR of 21.6.

New development at the new proposed floor area ratios will require owners contribute to a fund or purchase development rights from Grand Central that would enhance pedestrian movement and transportation in the proposed district. 

In a mature market area with virtually no vacant sites, new development opportunities will occur slowly over time and only when the leasing circumstances in individual buildings and market conditions in the area combine to make new development economically feasible. 

The proposal also includes the idea of creating a pedestrian walkway on Vanderbilt Avenue, the short street west of Grand Central. A number of owners that have properties on Vanderbilt Avenue have expressed concern about how this will impact building operations. It is important to address the traffic circulation and building operation issues before implementing this idea.

The rezoning proposal contains a provision that would delay the enactment of these changes until 2017. This “sunrise provision” could impact a few properties where owners have been actively reviewing the economic feasibility of rebuilding their site.

The city’s Midtown East rezoning proposal would encourage new development while retaining the area’s attractive and unique environment. Moving this forward would help to keep the New York market competitive with the rest of the world.

In other REBNY News:

Donate with your feet. New and gently worn women and men’s business shoes are needed.  REBNY has partnered with Dress for Success & Career Gear for the Annual Summer Donation Drive going on now until Aug. 24, 2012.

If your shoe donations are appropriate to wear to work and you would be comfortable wearing them to an interview, we’ll take them. All donations are 100 percent tax-deductible. Firms are welcomed to collect from their own offices to participate.

Shoes can be dropped off Monday through Thursday, 11 am to 3 pm and Friday, 11 am to 2 pm at the REBNY reception area, 570 Lexington Ave at 51st Street, on the second floor.

Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization and Career Gear is a national non-profit organization. Both promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women (Dress for Success) and disadvantaged men (Career Gear) by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help them succeed in work and in life.

For more information, contact jtaylor@rebny.com.