Roth: NYC should upzone Park Avenue

April 02, 2010 09:23AM

The city should help modernize its corporate offices by giving developers incentives to replace Park Avenue’s aging towers, Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, said in his annual letter to investors, which was released yesterday in a regulatory filing. “To keep regenerating New York, why not upzone Park Avenue as an economic incentive to tear down old buildings and replace them with new-builds which may be, say, half again the size,” he said, noting that this strategy has already worked in London. In the letter, Roth, who stepped down as Vornado CEO last year as Michael Fascitelli took the helm, was otherwise optimistic about the direction the market is headed. He said Vornado is keeping many of its vacant New York office spaces off the market in anticipation of rising rents. But while that’s good news in many ways, it also means the best deals in real estate may already be behind us, Roth said. “All the money was made buying securities in the panic,” he wrote, describing the ongoing bidding war over bankrupt General Growth Properties. “Whoever the final acquirer turns out to be, they will be paying a fair, not distressed price.” [WSJ] and [NYO]