Year in Real Estate

The Mayoral Equation

Bill de Blasio (Photo: AP)

William Bratton’s selection as police commissioner under Bill de Blasio will stand as perhaps the mayor-elect’s most prominent appointment. But as the clock ticks on Michael Bloomberg’s administration, two questions remain unanswered: Which projects begun under Mayor Bloomberg will unfold as planned? And who will shepherd Mr. de Blasio’s development goals?

In its final weeks in power, the Bloomberg administration is rushing to consolidate the mayor’s imposing real estate legacy. A New York Times article on Monday reported that $12 billion worth of projects were being pushed through for approval in the mayor’s twilight hours. They include grand projects like a massive Ferris wheel and outlet mall on Staten Island, America’s largest indoor ice rink in the Bronx and the Domino sugar factory redevelopment on the Brooklyn waterfront.  Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Public Review for Midtown East Rezoning Begins

Graybar Building.

New York City is beginning the public review process for the proposed rezoning of Midtown East, it was announced yesterday.

Our East Midtown plan provides zoning incentives for the development of a handful of new, state-of-the-art sustainable commercial buildings over the next 20 years,” said Amanda Burden, city planning commissioner, in a prepared statement. “This will enable this iconic district to build on its distinguished building stock and maintain a spectrum of commercial space for different business needs, including tenants seeking modern Class A offices.

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Opponents and Defenders of MSG Spar at Planning Commission Hearing


Shortly into yesterday’s City Planning Commission public hearing on the special permit application for Madison Square Garden—an event that would stretch into the evening—a comparison to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was made. It was an early indication of what would be a recurring theme throughout the day.

A number of obstacles facing the Garden, from its age and inferior infrastructure to its request for special signage, were brought to the fore as Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden heard from a list of 50 speakers, ranging from State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried to former New York Knick Larry Johnson, he of the four-point play. Read More

Pangs of New York

Martin Scorsese Implores Amanda Burden To Revise Bowery Zoning

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese, who grew up on the then-mean streets of Little Italy, has joined the fight to slow the luxurious transformation of the Bowery. The director recently wrote a letter to City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden that announced his solidarity with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors as the organization seeks revised zoning limits on the east side of the thoroughfare, a former Skid Row and, before that, theater and vaudeville destination. Read More


City Planning Commission Approves Pier 17 Retail Development Plans at South Street Seaport


The New York City Department of City Planning has approved The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans to raze South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and replace it with a two-level glass structure.

The commission agreed to allow the Dallas-based developer to overhaul the existing development with 120,000 square feet of retail and additional open space, including a 10,000-square-foot Read More

Better Faster Stronger

City Wants Consultant to Streamline City Planning

The real estate development world, which is full of complaints about government, rarely throws around the term “efficient” when speaking of the Department of City Planning. One of the biggest complaints is that most every developer embarking on a big project must go through what can be a months-long “pre-certification” process (though it can even Read More

Red Tape

Burden on Charter Revision: Don’t Change Rezoning Process

Looks like the Bloomberg administration, currently updating the city charter, may leave its land-use approval process untouched.

Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission and the administration’s empress of all things zoning, said last night that she does not want to see the seven-month review process changed. 

Speaking on a panel on the land Read More

Professor Skyscraper

In a late September planning conference at N.Y.U., Vishaan Chakrabarti strode into the college’s Kimmell Center a healthy hour after the event began.

Taking his place onstage, the former city planning official and development executive began to speak about his favorite project: the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Station-in the planning stages for nearly two decades-an effort Read More