Manhattan Beep Stringer backs Midtown East rezoning

From left: Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer and Midtown East
From left: Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer and Midtown East

A day after the city pledged to provide upfront funding for transit improvements as part of the Midtown East rezoning plan, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced he will support the proposal, Crain’s reported.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s revised plan calls for the city to pay for improvements to the Grand Central area up front and recoup the funds in the coming years as development rights are sold.

“The administration’s current commitment to fund Grand Central improvements will not only accommodate the 16,000 new jobs to be created by this proposal, but will benefit all New Yorkers who rely on East Side transit,” Mr. Stringer said, in a statement. “In order to make east midtown’s plan a success, greater density in east midtown should follow significant investments in its infrastructure.”

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Stringer won praise from the Hotel Trades Council, the city’s biggest hotel union, thanks to his endorsement of a special permit process for any hotels that would be built as part of the plan.

The improvements were originally contingent on developers paying into a special fund to allow them to build taller skyscrapers along Park Avenue and the surrounding area. Officials slammed the approach.

These were not the only modifications to the proposal. Earlier this month, the administration released a host of tweaks, including allowing landmarked buildings to sell their air rights across a broader geography. Since the changes were announced, observers awaited Stringer’s approval, wondering whether he would side with the plan’s critics and risk alienating the city’s real estate community as he runs for the position of New York City Comptroller against former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland