St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church and the Central Synagogue have joined the Catholic Archdiocese of New York in its quest for modifications to the proposed Midtown East rezoning. The rezoning would allow for larger office buildings in a 78-block area around the Park Avenue corridor, and around Grand Central, there's a smaller subdistrict where landmarked buildings would be able to sell their air rights to developers. But this subdistrict stops just short of the religious institutions' buildings. Steve Cuozzo of the Post reports that some landlords and brokers even think this was done purposefully, but either way, it means that God's houses would not be able to profit from the rezoning.
While the existing law allows the institutions to sell their air rights to adjacent sites, none have yet been able to do this and the rezoning would make selling air rights easier. With a combine total of 2 million square feet of air rights, the institutions could fetch upwards of $500 per square foot or $1 billion total. This money would help them pay for repairs and upkeep, like the ongoing $174 million renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The rezoning proposal is currently going through public hearings, and it's expected to be approved by the middle of next year.
· Churches Ask Higher Power [NYP]
· Midtown East rezoning coverage [Curbed]
St. Patrick's photo via Wikimedia Commons