Vanderbilt Avenue rezoning and developments good for New Yorkers

By Steve Spinola

On Monday, the City Planning Commission certified applications that will start the public review process for the rezoning of the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor. This rezoning will ensure that the area maintains its status as a global business center.

The anticipated new office developments will not only create the modern office spaces that tenants demand, but it will also generate thousands of good paying middle class jobs.

The plans for Midtown East will have a real impact on New Yorkers from every corner of the city—not just those who work or live in the area. The plans include vast improvements to our city’s transit system, creating a more enjoyable and convenient commute for residents of every borough, straphangers from across our region, as well as tourists and visitors from around the world.

The transit enhancements related to the development of One Vanderbilt by SL Green are impressive in both their scope and attention to detail. Estimated at more than $200 million, the improvements will make a dramatic difference to the thousands of visitors to Grand Central Terminal every day.

Grand Central Terminal itself will receive new access points to improve circulation, reduce congestion and an extension to the west with direct transit connections. Staircases will be narrowed to increase platform areas, and some existing enclosed spaces will be converted into circulation areas on the mezzanine level of the IRT Lexington Avenue station.

These are only a handful of confirmed changes that will increase maneuverability and cut down on overcrowding at Grand Central.

The proposed improvements at One Vanderbilt will include: a new 4,000 square foot, ground-level indoor transit hall with entrances at East 43rd Street; a ground-level entrance with stairs, escalators, and an escalator on 42nd Street; a new public plaza, and much more.

All of these updates and improvements will be constructed and financed by the development team, and are addressing the subway system’s strained infrastructure and the need for better open public space.

Last week, Stephen Smith of YIMBY reported that One Vanderbilt will also be paying approximately $50 million in annual property taxes. This is a significantly larger amount than the other buildings in the area, which currently pay approximately $8 million in property taxes.

According to REBNY’s recent economic impact study, revenue-generating properties throughout the city  provided enough tax revenue to pay the City’s entire share of the $13.1 billion in payroll expenses for teachers, police officers, fire fighters, sanitation workers, and correction officers with $2.3 billion left over to fund other vital city services that we all enjoy like parks and libraries.

Taxes generated by the real estate industry fueled 38 percent of the city’s total budget, as well as more than 500,000 jobs. This is clear evidence that we must continue to support efforts like the rezoning of the Vanderbilt Avenue and build more revenue-generating properties throughout the five boroughs.

The plans for Midtown East’s rezoning and the accompanying construction will be a significant, positive gain for the entire City of New York. Despite high price tags, SL Green has remained ahead of the curve and detailed several ways in which it will use this money to yield numerous benefits. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this impressive project for this significant milestone, and look forward to experiencing the new and improved area of Midtown East when it is completed.

In other REBNY news:
October 23rd is REBNY’s 26th Annual Residential Deal of the Year Gala! Come see our industry’s top salespeople recognized for their accomplishments this year, and top it all off with cocktails, dinner, and dancing! This event will be taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and tickets are available at REBNY.com. For more information, contact JTaylor@REBNY.com.

November 4th is the REBNY Members’ Luncheon, featuring “New York Real Estate Forecast: Market Trends for Today & Tomorrow,” a discussion on looking back on 2014 and predications going forward. The Luncheon takes place at the Hilton New York, and more information can be found on REBNY.com, or by contacting Ossie Shemtov at OShemtov@REBNY.com.

REBNY is a proud partner of the 2014 Massey Knakal Multifamily Summit! This exciting two-day event is taking place on November 12th and 13th at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center, and will bring together over 850 owners, operators, investors and multifamily experts, making it the largest day-long multifamily conference in New York! It will also be featuring several guest speakers and informative panel discussions, and REBNY members can receive a $75 discount on tickets using code MP-75REBNY through Eventbrite. For more information on this event, please contact Heather Eisenstadt at heisenstadt@greenpearlevents.com.