The positively slammed City Planning Commission is voting today on the contentious proposal to rezone Midtown East. Specifically, developers with sites in a 74-block chunk surrounding Grand Central would be allowed to buy air rights, then tear down older office buildings and replace them with taller, greener, denser ones than are currently permitted, adding to the neighborhood's commercial offerings and, so the logic goes, making it a more productive business hub. Developers who partake would pay into a fund that in turn would be spent on improvements to transit, infrastructure and public space. Even if the proposal is approved by the CPC and then the City Council, skyscrapers wouldn't start to rise till four years down the line, giving other office towers at the World Trade Center site and Hudson Yards time to fill up with tenants.
At least, that was the idea. But two impatient developers, who hold that competition with those other projects isn't an issue, don't want to wait, according to the WSJ. And, shocker, the city is listening to them, modifying the text of the plan so that some projects can get a running start. First there's 425 Park Avenue, a Norman Foster-designed pile o' glass (pictured at right, click for big) courtesy of David Levinson's L&L Holdings. If the revised plan is approved, L&L could raze the current structure and build one 15 percent larger. Because they're set to break ground in 2015, if the new zoning rules don't kick in till later, they're sorta screwed.
Office moguls with at least one notable foray into the residential sphere, SL Green wants to get a one-year head-start on Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed One Vanderbilt, which will stretch on the eponymous avenue from 42nd to 43rd streets. Reps there say they want to start early "because they plan to make significant and time-consuming improvements to pedestrian access to Grand Central."
Check back later to see how the CPC responds to these pleas, as well as the other modifications that community members?who are overall not fans of the rezoning?have suggested.
· Two May Get Jump on Midtown Plan [WSJ]
· All Midtown East Rezoning coverage [Curbed]
?Image of 425 Park Avenue by dbox branding & creative for Foster +Partners