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City Council approves Midtown East rezoning, paving way for new era of office development

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Th rezoning concerns a 78-block stretch and will usher in 6.8 million square feet of new office development

In a unanimous verdict, the New York City Council approved the rezoning of Midtown East to usher in a new era of modern office development along an approximately 78-block stretch. The details of the plan haven’t changed since the Council’s land use subcommittee approved the rezoning last month, but the city is now offering up some new details on what the rezoning will entail.

Overall, the proposal will create 6.8 million square feet of new office space, and modernize 6.6 million square feet of existing office space into Class A office buildings. This is turn is expected to create 28,000 new permanent jobs.

The city unveiled more details pertaining to the transit improvements that are a part of the rezoning. We were previously informed that developers building adjacent to subway stations would have to make certain additions or improvements to the stations like installing an elevator, creating a new entrance, or installing an escalator. Now the city has revealed that developers on these projects will have to complete the transit improvements before they are allowed occupancy in their new buildings.

“East Midtown’s growth is now directly linked to real-time improvements in its public transit and public realm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement. “In the years ahead, this neighborhood will see major upgrades to subway stations, more expansive space for pedestrians, investments in its iconic landmarks, and a new generation of office buildings that will spur good jobs for New Yorkers.”

Here are the subway stations that will likely see improvements as part of the rezoning:

  • Lexington Avenue / 53rd – 51st Street (E,M,6)
  • Lexington Avenue - 59th Street (N,Q,R,4,5,6)
  • Fifth Avenue / 53rd Street (E,M)
  • 47th / 50th Streets – Rockefeller Ctr (B,D,F,M)
  • 42 St - Bryant Park / 5th Avenue (B,D,F,M,7)
  • Grand Central / 42nd Street (4,5,6,7,S)

Part of the rezoning also allows developers to purchase air rights from landmarked buildings in the area. What’s more the air rights can be transferred to any part of the rezoned area, not just to adjacent buildings. A portion of the funds from the air rights sale will go towards a city fund that will help it carry out improvements to public space in the area. Already the city has committed $50 million towards the program, and the areas selected for upgrades are as follows:

  • Shared Street on 43rd Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue
  • Pershing East Plaza
  • 53rd Street Thoroughfare Improvements
  • Park Avenue Turn Lane Improvements
  • Lexington Avenue Improvements

“This rezoning ensures that East Midtown, with its legendary buildings and firms, will remain the place where the world comes together to do business for generations to come,” City Council member David Greenfield, who chairs the Land Use committee that previously approved this rezoning, said in a statement.