The Real Deal New York

Midtown East rezoning flop spurs exodus to downtown

January 30, 2014 02:30PM

Two months after Mayor Bloomberg’s Midtown East rezoning proposal fizzled, the debate over a revamp of the commercial zone rages on.

The latest salvo: An article by the New York’s Post Steve Cuozzo. In it, Cuozzo writes that, since the proposal’s flop, big-name companies in the area have stepped up the pace of their exit. Among the most recent are law firm Reed Smith, purportedly in talks for a deal at Hines’ Seven Bryant Park, and Citigroup, which ditched its longtime 399 Park Avenue headquarters for 388 and 390 Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan in a December deal.

“The fabled Grand Central area threatens to deteriorate into a commercial backwater if zoning isn’t changed to allow construction of new buildings suitable for today’s sophisticated companies,” writes Cuozzo, who quips that Midtown East’s office buildings as “‘Mad Men’-era dinosaurs.”

Jones Day, another law firm, is leaving its 41st Street home for 4 Brookfield Place, while Time Warner, Coach and L’Oreal have inked deals at the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards. Sony is also splitting for new offices near Madison Square Park, and Conde Nast and GroupM are to set up shop in Silverstein’s 1 and 3 World Trade Center, respectively.

According to Cuozzo, the fleeing firms are looking for features and amenities that don’t exist in an aging East Midtown, where buildings are 73 years old on average.

  • Dan Sciannameo

    Hudson Yards was planned to accommodate office growth for the next 30 years. How many expansions does Manhattan really need?

    • Sol Goldman

      With Seaport city…Just 1 more

    • Victor

      What makes you the expert? Let freedom ring. Capitalism & Free markets. That’s what we need. Let a market economy make that decision and not some frizzy haired sloppy disheveled angry jealous drug popping Liberal.

      • Not Milton Friedman

        You “free market” guys (which ironically doesn’t exist except in your econ text books), are always angry. What is up with that?

    • BXGuy

      Depends on numerous factors such as population growth and increased metropolitan urbanization.

      Developments such as the Hudson Yards also introduce population growth, considering they provide significant jobs. Considering NYC’s world class status, that draw is international.