Partners join forces to keep Midtown East in contention

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

In support of the NYC Department of City Planning’s proposed rezoning of Midtown East, the Real Estate Board of New York and other leading organizations in the business, labor and real estate communities have joined forces to launch a major advocacy campaign called Midtown21C: Coalition for a Globally Competitive NYC.

The coalition supports rezoning Midtown East, to ensure that this pre-eminent business district remains globally competitive with cities like London, Singapore and Hong Kong in a 21st-century economy.

A successful rezoning will not only create state-of-the-art office space, but will additionally create thousands of well-paying jobs—both construction and permanent—while raising funds to improve New York’s public realm.

Along with REBNY, coalition members include the New York Building Congress, Building Trades Employers Association, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ Service Employees International Union, and Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

Throughout the history of this city, Midtown East has been an economic and jobs juggernaut that constantly evolves to stay ahead of the competition.

To stop growing now would be tantamount to surrendering Midtown’s reputation as the pre-eminent business district in the world. Midtown21C intends to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Citing the aging of many of the buildings in the district, the coalition believes that it is imperative that New York City be able to develop state-of-the-art buildings in Midtown East with column-free floors, greater floor-to-ceiling heights, energy efficient features, and world-class designs that will rival—and surpass—other international cities.

Midtown21C, which is urging that the rezoning be completed by the end of 2013, is also pressing for greater flexibility in transferring air rights, the inclusion of additional sites in periphery of district, and allowing condo-hotels in the District.

Late last month, Midtown21C released a comprehensive study of the historic assets and development history of Midtown East. This study, Icons, Placeholders & Leftovers: Midtown East Report, was conducted by renowned Philadelphia-based consulting firm CivicVisions.

The report shows that Midtown East already boasts some of the City’s—and indeed the world’s—greatest landmark buildings and that none of the many buildings now being proposed for landmarking by various advocacy groups are ‘special’ enough to merit that status. Landmarking unmeritorious buildings will stunt the area’s growth, diminish revenue to pay for needed infrastructure improvements and prevent new buildings, possibly true future landmarks, from being built in Midtown East.

For more information on the Coalition, and to read a copy of the report, please visit Midtown21C’s website: www.midtown21C.org. The website serves as a hub of information on the rezoning and also provides rezoning supporters with the opportunity to take action by joining the growing coalition of voices speaking out in favor of a rezoned Midtown East.

We will keep you updated on our progress with this important issue.

In other REBNY News:

Join REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee for the presentation of the real estate industry’s highest honors for commercial brokers. The Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards will be presented during the 69th annual cocktail party on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the 101 Club, 101 Park Avenue. To register, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.

“Snap Shots: Creative Deals Outside the Box” is the exciting topic for the REBNY Members Luncheon from 11:45 am to 2 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Panelists are Kenneth F. Bernstein, President & CEO of Acadia Realty Trust; Christopher Schlank, Managing Partner at Savanna; and Michael Stern, Managing Partner of JDS Development. Robert A. Knakal will serve as the panel’s moderator. Tickets are $90 per person; $900 for a table of 10 and $1,080 for a table of 12. For registration, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.