Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer has come forth with her support for One Vanderbilt, the mega-tower proposed alongside a rezoning for a small pocket of Midtown East. Both proposals are currently in the midst of the city's labyrinthine thisapproval process and are naturally getting both shade and endorsements from just about everyone with a voice. Brewer's support comes with the announcement that her office has negotiated with developer SL Green to extract a few more benefits to the community from the builders behind the proposed 1,500-foot-tall office tower.
Brewer's office negotiated reforming the building's plaza to improve its public appeal and access, rather to construct a place that serves One Vanderbilt's office workers. Improvements include doors to the building's ground-floor retail section that open onto the plaza. SL Green has also agreed to pay for maintenance of the plaza, and to throw some money into a reserve fund to continue maintenance of the area over time. Brewer also asked SL Green to make the already-criticized transit hall a friendlier place to commuters by including benches and restrooms in the transit corridor. The entrance to the subway on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and 42nd Street will be enlarged.
For other proposed buildings that will eventually have to undergo the discretionary review process down the line, the office has also succeeded in tweaking the text of what it takes to get a special permit to build larger than as-of-right. Basically, Brewer wants floor area ratio bonuses given to builders to seriously hinge upon the transit improvements that the builders are proposing in exchange for the increased density. Brewer's statement also said the office has increased the emphasis on sustainability, and has required all applicants describe anticipated maintenance plans for public improvements early on in the review process.
UPDATE: SL Green has issued a response to Gale Brewer's statement.
We are extremely pleased to have the support of Borough President Brewer for this transformative development, which is poised to deliver $210 million in public improvements in and around Grand Central Terminal. We've worked side by side with Borough President Brewer on refining important elements of this plan and we look forward to working with the City Planning Commission and Council Member Garodnick as the proposal proceeds through ULURP. Thank you to Borough President Brewer, her staff and to our partner organizations at the Coalition for a Better Grand Central, all of whom support improving the commute for the hundreds of thousands of daily riders that use the terminal.
· Builder, Architect, Critics Dissect Megatower One Vanderbilt [Curbed]
· All One Vanderbilt coverage [Curbed]