Bloomberg switches tactics on Midtown East rezoning cash

Mayor vows to provide advanced funding for neighborhood improvements

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (inset), Midtown East
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (inset), Midtown East

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a New York Daily News column, said the city will advance funding for some mass transit and open space improvements in the proposed Midtown East rezoning district, bowing to pressure from critics of the plan.

Previously, the proposal — seen as forming a key part of Bloomberg’s legacy — called for developers to pay into a fund, allocated to beautifying the area and addressing some of the infrastructure issues that are expected to result from allowing the construction of taller office towers in the neighborhood. However, opponents claimed that this would postpone the improvements while allowing developers to reap the benefits of the larger, newer office stock in the near-term.

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“By tying development to these improvements, this plan could generate in excess of $500 million at a time of continued budget challenges for both the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority,” Bloomberg wrote.

He added that the administration will draw up a specific package of improvements that the city will cover in the coming weeks. The measures will set the stage for the development, and will be paid back when the development occurs, the column said. [NYDN]Julie Strickland