Revised Midtown East rezoning plan allows for residential use, broader air rights transfers

July 18, 2013 03:00PM

The City Planning Commission unveiled an amended version of its Midtown East rezoning proposal that, in an effort to assuage critics, would allow developers to earmark 20 percent of newly built skyscrapers for residential use, as well as take greater advantage of air rights from landmarked buildings, Crain’s reported.

The rezoning proposal is an effort to entice developers to replace Midtown East’s aging office building stock with state-of-the-art skyscrapers.

Under the latest version, developers could add apartments atop new buildings along main arteries such as Park and Madison Avenues, an option expected to fuel more new towers. The new residential allowance, city planning officials said, would come with its own class of air rights, with prices set in the coming months. With a special permit, developers could add up to 40 percent of new space for residential units.

A modification that will allow area landmarks such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Central Synagogue and St. Bart’s Church to sell their air rights across a broader geography is another high profile change to the rezoning plan. That expanded area will extend from East 48th Street to East 57th Street between Madison and Third avenues.

Additionally, in an effort to repair relations with the New York Hotel Trades Council trade group, City Planning is proposing to limit hotel space to no more than 20 percent of any new development within the district, effectively subjecting new hotels to special review.

However, the latest proposal did not include an amendment that would make larger sites eligible for upzoning. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland