Midtown East Rezoning

Midtown East Rezoning

City Planning Certifies Vanderbilt Corridor Application

1 Vanderbilt

The Department of City Planning certified a five-block rezoning application today for a stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue adjacent to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown East that includes SL Green Realty Corp.‘s proposed 67-story, 1.3-million-square-foot 1 Vanderbilt office tower.

The announcement officially kicks off the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, sending the contentious plan for successive evaluations by Manhattan Community Boards 5 and 6, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the City Planning Commission and finally to the City Council. The certification could also restart the momentum behind the larger 73-block Midtown East rezoning that failed in the City Council last year. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

SL Green, City Planning Detail 1 Vanderbilt Transit Upgrades

1 Vanderbilt

Officials with SL Green Realty Corp. and the Department of City Planning outlined a detailed rebuttal today to claims by executives with Grand Central Terminal landlord Argent Ventures that the developers pursuing a rezoning to build the 1,350-foot 1 Vanderbilt tower across the street from the terminal haven’t made the necessary public-benefit commitments to build 528,900 square feet above the Midtown East site’s existing zoning restrictions.

SL Green presented local Community Board 5 with a 68-page report that aggregates the $210 million in transit upgrades for the planned 67-story structure at 317 Madison Avenue that the company says it negotiated over 17 months of talks with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Argent, SL Green Trade Barbs Over Grand Central Air Rights

Click to enlarge: rendering of 1 Vanderbilt public improvements. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates)

The dispute over Midtown East rezoning between Grand Central Terminal landlord Argent Ventures and 1 Vanderbilt developer SL Green Realty Corp. spilled over into the panel circuit this morning at the annual September conference of the Appraisal Institute.

Shortly after SL Green managing director Robert Schiffer detailed roughly $210 million in infrastructure improvements for the 1.6-million-square foot tower slated for Vanderbilt Avenue and East 42nd Street–upgrades like new stairways to the terminal and an enclosed public space, in addition to building setbacks on the 65-story tower allowing new open viewing lines for the terminal–Argent director of development Eric Anderson reiterated the company’s opposition to potential city bonuses giving SL Green the right to construct the new tower without buying any of Argent’s 1.3 million square feet of transferable development rights at Grand Central. Read More

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


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


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


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