Archdiocese: Midtown East air rights price floor would be sinful

Developers also oppose proposal

Religious organizations refuse to turn the other cheek on a proposed price floor for air rights in a rezoned Midtown East, joining developers in opposition.

“We expect the proposed floor price to have the effect of decreasing funding available for public-realm improvements and stifling the very redevelopment that the city is seeking to facilitate,” the Archdiocese of New York said in a statement delivered in September.

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As part of a sweeping rezoning proposal for the neighborhood, the Department of City Planning wants to set a minimum price for air rights. The city would get up to 40 percent of air rights sale proceeds under the proposal, and can use that money for public infrastructure improvements in the area. The worry is that a glut of air rights will push prices so low that little money will be left for these improvements – hence the price floor.

“The floor price is a tool that ensures a minimum contribution will be made to east midtown’s public-realm improvement fund as part of each development-rights transfer,” a DCP spokesperson told Crain’s.

Local City Council member Dan Garodnick also supports the price floor. Many details of the proposed rezoning still remain up in the air. [Crain’s] — Konrad Putzier

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