Midtown East committee: Let landmarks sell their air rights

City would take a cut of each transaction to fund public improvements

TRD New York /
Oct.October 29, 2015 02:55 PM

Midtown East landmarks like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Bartholomew’s Church and Central Synagogue will be able to market 3.5 million square feet of air rights if a steering committee’s recommendations are approved.

The East Midtown Steering Committee released an anticipated rezoning report Thursday recommending that designated landmarks be permitted to transfer unused development rights across the entire Midtown East neighborhood.

The report offers two options for increased zoning in the district, with the first allowing developers to acquire additional square footage by investing in nearby public transportation like subway platforms.

The second option would allow owners of landmarked buildings in Midtown East to sell unused air rights throughout a new, expanded zoning district. While those development rights might be sold at market rate. The city would take a “significant percentage” of each transaction, however, to fund “public-realm improvements.”

The report estimates that 19 landmarked buildings in Midtown East alone offer 3.5 million square feet of development rights that can’t be used. St. Patrick’s, St. Bartholomew’s and Central Synagogue have angled for years to be allowed to sell those rights.

While saying they “applaud” the steering committee’s recommendations, the three religious institutions released a joint statement expressed concern “that the high assessment on [air rights] transfers proposed in the Committee report greatly diminishes the rezoning’s twin objectives of promoting development and historic preservation.”

The City Planning Commission and other city agencies will next weigh the steering committee’s proposals, and it would enter the city’s formal zoning process if approved. – Rey Mashayekhi

Related Articles

206 West 17th Street, 116 7th Avenue, and Extell Development’s Gary Barnett (Credit: Google Maps)

What rich people in NYC will pay to keep their view: TRD analysis

The Strand Bookstore and store owner Nancy Bass Wyden (Credit: Getty Images)

Over owner’s protests, city landmarks Strand bookstore

350 Park

Vornado, Rudin mull 1,450-foot tower in Midtown East

Suri Kasirer

WATCH: Suri Kasirer on the influence of her father’s Holocaust stories and lobbying hard for the Vanderbilt Corridor and Cornell Tech

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Ingersoll Houses at 120 Navy Walk in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

These are the developers looking to buy air rights from NYCHA

Yair Levy and 47-55 West 28th Street (Credit: Wikipedia)

Citing racist history, banned NYC developer tries to block landmarking of his Tin Pan Alley buildings

JPMorgan is redesigning 270 Park after pushback over public space

JPMorgan is redesigning 270 Park after pushback over public space

Grand Central and Chrysler building in daytime

RXR joining TF Cornerstone, MSD Capital on $3B Grand Hyatt redevelopment