Is Midtown East rezoning mired in red tape?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s massive Midtown East rezoning plan does not go far enough and will therefore not produce the sweeping changes necessary in the aging office district, according to an opinion piece by Steve Cuozzo published in the New York Post.

Cuozzo says that Bloomberg is correct that the area desperately needs larger, newer office stock to keep high-profile firms in that area of the city. But the program the mayor is proposing proposing requires too much red tape and too many expenses to be implemented successfully, the column states. Rather than allowing developers to simply tear down buildings and replace them with newer, taller ones, Bloomberg is requiring them to pay money for the additional air rights, and in some instances, keep at least some of the existing structure. He plans to use that money to make improvements to pedestrian conditions that Cuozzo deems unimportant.

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The piece also says that by waiting until 2017 to implement the changes — a move real estate insiders told the Post was made to alleviate competition with Hudson Yards — and by forcing landlords to endure the lengthly land-use review process, the “urgent” need for new towers won’t be satisfied. Bloomberg, the writer concludes, “reduced an engine of renewal to a boondoggle machine.” [Post] — Adam Fusfeld