Midtown East rezoning makes advances

Steering committee to send plan to city planners

From left: Midtown East and Council member Dan Garodnick
From left: Midtown East and Council member Dan Garodnick

The process of rezoning Midtown East is moving ahead.

The Midtown East steering committee is planning to send its recommendations to city planners  by the end of the month, the Wall Street Journal reported. The group has been in talks for more than nine months. Then, it’s up to the Department of Planning to draft a zoning proposal, which will then go through the formal, public review process.

The rezoning would allow bigger towers to be built as well as the transfer of unused air rights from landmarked buildings to other projects in the area from East 39th to 59th streets between Fifth and Third avenues. The plan also aims to preserve historic sites in the neighborhood, Council member Dan Garodnick, who serves as the committee’s co-chair together with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, told the newspaper.

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The committee is also focusing on the need for public transportation improvements. One of its recommendations includes that developers would be allowed to bypass approval from the City Council for their big projects if they promise to invest in enhancing local transit, according to the newspaper.

The rezoning of a five-block Area Surrounding Vanderbilt Avenue near Grand Central Station was approved by the City Council last month to allow for One Vanderbilt, SL Green Realty’s proposed new skyscraper. [WSJ] — Claire Moses