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Midtown East Rezoning

Midtown East Rezoning

City Officials, SL Green Respond to Grand Central Landlord

Vanderbilt Corridor

A week after a contentious Department of City Planning hearing on the Vanderbilt Corridor proposal to rezone five blocks in Midtown East, City Planning officials and attorneys for SL Green Realty Corp. doubled down on their view that the proposal won’t block Grand Central Terminal landlord Argent Ventures from selling the historic property’s unused air rights.

With Argent and preservation advocates raising tough questions about whether a go-ahead to build the One Vanderbilt office tower adjacent to Grand Central without buying any transferable development rights from Argent would hinder needed aid to a city landmark, SL Green lawyers and city officials responded with a full-throated defense of the plan. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

One Vanderbilt Gets Advisory Nod from LPC

One Vanderbilt

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission lent their advisory support to the design of SL Green Realty Corp.’s potential 1,350-foot One Vanderbilt tower during a public hearing yesterday on whether the company’s schemes will form a harmonious addition to the site adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.

After a presentation on the building’s look, its planned public space and the company’s vision of how the glass base of the building would fit into the historic area, officials with the city agency who examined the company’s schemes as part of a 2010 Bowery Savings Bank building development rights purchase by SL Green gave their backing to the proposed Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates skyscraper as a welcome addition to the landscape. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Grand Central Landlord Threatens Lawsuit Over One Vanderbilt [Updated]

Vanderbilt Corridor

The landlord of Grand Central Terminal sent two lawyers to a preliminary Department of City Planning hearing on SL Green Realty Corp.’s proposal for One Vanderbilt to communicate the strong objections of Argent Ventures and its two private partners to the current plans for the 1,350-foot Midtown East office tower.

Sparks flew at a public meeting today about the pending environmental impact statement on the 67-story structure that would rise at 317 Madison Avenue adjacent to Grand Central, with litigation attorney Duane Loft of Boies, Schiller & Flexner offering up a threat to slap the city with a $1 billion lawsuit over the terminal’s unused air rights. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Midtown East Rezoning Denied by City Council

grand-central-terminal

Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s initiative to rezone the 73 blocks of East Midtown surrounding Grand Central Terminal was met with rejection yesterday as members of the City Council announced they could not come to an agreement on the plan.

“A good idea alone is not enough to justify action today,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Dan Garodnick said in a joint-statement released yesterday. “We should rezone East Midtown, but only when we can do so properly. After extensive negotiations, we have been unable to reach agreement on a number of issues in the proposed plan.” Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Grand Central Owner Argues Air Rights are Undervalued

grand-central-terminal

Andrew Penson, president and founder of Argent Ventures, owner of Grand Central Terminal, is fighting back against the Midtown East rezoning plan, which Mr. Penson argues undervalues the 1.3 million square feet of transferable development rights acquired along with the rail station, Crain’s New York reported.

As part of the rezoning proposal, the city is planning to charge $250 per square foot for development rights allowing developers to build larger towers in the Midtown East submarket. The city’s price, Mr. Penson argues, is half of what Argent values the air rights at. 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.

Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

In the Zone: Midtown East Rezoning Faces Challenges, Some Warn

graybar

Capital requirements and the debate over building preservation are just two of the roadblocks the Midtown East rezoning plan faces on the path to approval, real estate professionals say.

Market participants anticipate a significant review process before any ground is broken, despite the plan’s potential benefits.

“I think it’s a work in progress,” David Greene, principal and president of brokerage services at Murray Hill Properties, told The Commercial Observer. “I think it will, eventually, after lots of public review, have a substantial meaning for the Grand Central area and north.” Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Coalition Releases Midtown East Study, Preservationists Balk

graybar

Midtown 21C, a coalition heavy on construction companies and labor organizations advocating for the rezoning of Midtown East, yesterday released a study evaluating the area’s historic assets and development history. The focus of the study was structures targeted by preservation groups for landmark status, which could hinder rezoning proposals.

Members of the coalition include the New York Building Congress, the Building Trades Employers Association, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ Service Employees Union and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

According to the study, prepared for Midtown 21C by CivicVisions LP of Philadelphia, “New York runs the risk of undermining its competitive edge by revisiting issues that were covered 30 years ago when truly iconic buildings were landmarked. If landmarks are created solely for the purpose of opposing redevelopment, they jeopardize New York’s future.” Read More