Fresh off of a victory against Madison Square Garden, Times archicritic Michael Kimmelman has taken on a new foe: Bloomberg's plan to rezone 73 blocks of Midtown East, which would effectively call for new, tall office buildings to replace older, inefficient ones. He outlines myriad faults of the proposal, which is making its way through the city's approval process now, and so we've boiled it down into his three most cutting critiques.
1) The plan doesn't prioritize the street life around the neighborhood's buildings: "This means mass transit, pedestrian-friendly streets, social diversity, neighborhoods that don't shut down after 5 p.m., parks and landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building." Obvi, we're going to need more trains, better trains, and better infrastructure for thousands of new commuters.
2) The plan doesn't take into account that we don't necessarily need more office buildings, especially given that lots of businesses (like Google and others) have intentionally opted for other neighborhoods with, shall we say, more character: "The administration's rezoning plan imagines Fortune 500 companies demanding millions of square feet for giant new headquarters in glass towers on Park Avenue, as if this were 1965. There may well be some demand for those spaces. But how much demand, without the neighborhood amenities and services that led Google and other companies to look outside Midtown? "
3) The plan, in fact, can wait. With major commercial space opening up at One World Trade Center and its environs, as well as Hudson Yards, why take away potential tenants from those lease-seeking areas?
Kimmelman concludes that the plan, as a whole, is pro-developer and anti-public opinion. Oh snap. Now it's on borough president Scott Stringer's hands before it goes before the City Council for a full vote. Now, what'll they say?
· The Plan to Swallow Midtown [NYT]
· All Midtown East rezoning coverage [Curbed]