Unions seek to limit hotels from cashing in on Midtown East rezoning

Hotel unions are worried the proposed Midtown East rezoning will damage the hotel industry, allowing a glut of hotels to move into the neighborhood.

The rezoning stretches roughly from 57th to 39th streets between Fifth and Third avenues and aims to promote the development of new offices through relaxed height restrictions and the sale of air rights.

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But the proposal has already proven to have an affect beyond office towers. For example, religious institutions are looking to capitalize on the measure by selling their air rights. Now, according to the New York Observer, hotel employee unions are worried hotel expansion will oversaturate the area and create unstable jobs outside the union.

In hopes of stopping that, the Hotel and Motel Trades Council is asking the city to require hotel developers to seek special permits and subject them to the city’s public review process, which would require the pro-union City Council’s stamp of approval. That would help keep the number of hotels down and jobs inside the union.

The union says such a provision would keep Midtown East from becoming like Hudson Square and Times Square, areas with large numbers of hotels. Hudson Square’s rezoning already includes a permit restriction like the one the union wants. [NYO] — Jane C. Timm