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Grand Central Terminal’s air rights could help JPMorgan build 70-story Midtown tower

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The financial company is in talks to purchase air rights above Grand Central Terminal

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Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and JPMorgan Chase announced plans to utilize new zoning provisions created under the new Midtown East rezoning plan and demolish the financial company’s current world headquarters at the Union Carbide Building, located at 270 Park Avenue, to replace it with a shiny new 70-story building.

The plan sparked outrage among architecture critics since the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed building was largely helmed by architect Natalie de Blois—one of the female architects who successfully made a mark in the male-dominated industry.

Despite numerous people making the case for why the building should be saved, plans are still on, for the time being. And now, Crain’s reports that JPMorgan Chase is in talks to purchase air rights over Grand Central Terminal to allow for the skyscraper’s rise.

In 2016, investment firms MSD Capital and Argent, along with developer TF Cornerstone, purchased a majority stake in roughly 1.35 million square feet of development rights above Grand Central Terminal. Because of this, they, along with JPMorgan would have to agree to pay a combined sum of about $40 million to fund publicly-utilized space in the neighborhood before air rights can be transferred to the banking giant.

Developers of One Vanderbilt, the Midtown East skyscraper set to rise 1,401 feet, recently settled a lawsuit filed by Grand Central Terminal landlord Andrew Penson over air rights. The $1.1 billion suit accused the de Blasio administration and developers SL Green of dispossessing Penson of the “value of the air rights after the administration allowed SL Green to move forward with the 65-story tower without additional development rights.” It is unclear what the stipulations of the settlement were.