Flux is essential to Midtown East, rezoning advocacy group claims

February 28, 2013 12:30PM

A group lobbying for the rezoning of Midtown East has released a new study that contends change itself is what’s essential to the business district.

The group, named Midtown 21C, looked at the preservation and development history of the Grand Central area and found that “continual change” is what has marked the neighborhood and that landmarking “unimportant” buildings would be out of Midtown East’s character.

The 52-page report, prepared by Philadelphia-based consulting firm CivicVisions, argues that the truly important buildings in Midtown East were designated landmarks shortly after they became eligible — at 30 years of age.

Icons, Placeholders & Leftovers: Midtown East Report goes on to contend that buildings designed by lesser-known architects that are eligible to be landmarks should not get the designation.

“This report puts to rest the false arguments for preserving old buildings simply because they’ve survived. Instead, Midtown East’s dynamic history should serve as a blueprint for its future,” Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress and member of the Midtown 21C coalition, said.

“From its inception, this district has been a step ahead of the competition because it adapted and changed to meet the demands of the future. Rezoning will encourage the development that will allow Midtown East to remain a vital hub of global business activity that creates jobs and permits the change that has historically set this district apart.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the most powerful advocate for rezoning Midtown East to encouraging new development projects. Rezoning opponents argue that the economic benefits of rezoning the area are being overplayed. —Christopher Cameron