Midtown East rezoning could place historic properties in jeopardy

Dec.December 07, 2012 02:00 PM

Preservationists and three Manhattan community boards are warning that Mayor Bloomberg’s massive Midtown East rezoning plan would harm the properties that are most representative of the neighborhood’s historic character, the New York Times reported.

The Municipal Arts Society and the New York Landmarks Conservancy identified some 12 buildings — including the Yale Club, the Barclay Hotel and the Graybar Building — that were most likely to be demolished if the rezoning passes. “What one would not want to have happen is for the district to become solely a place about Class A office space,” the Society’s President Vin Cipolla told the Times.

The rezoning proposal would increase maximum allowable building density for some large sites around Grand Central by 60 percent; in addition, an 11-block stretch of Park Avenue would have density increased by 44 percent. The proposal is not yet under formal review.

Community board 4, 5 and 6 have brought up an additional question of what would happen to other preeminent city properties: “Does the Chrysler or Empire State Building deserve any special protections?” The City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission said they realize the value of these nearby properties and are studying their eligibility for landmarking. [NYT]Zachary Kussin

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