Midtown East Rezoning: Not for the Faint-Hearted

The new plans approved by the New York City Council allow the construction of modern office space, reduce challenges for redevelopments and aim at upgrading the area’s transit and pedestrian infrastructure. Still, experts say only sophisticated developers will be able to take advantage of the approved regulations.
The rezoning plan for Manhattan’s Greater East Midtown district is now in effect, after New York City Council’s unanimous approval. The regulations cover 78 blocks and are primarily focused on the renewal of the area’s office building inventory. Developers are now able to buy unused development rights from landmarks and are required to contribute to the Public Realm Improvement Fund in exchange. The contribution will be a minimum of $61.5 per-square-foot or 20 percent of the air rights’ sale price. The final version of the text was years in the making, after the Department of City Planning felt that the existing office properties (most of which are around 75 years old) wouldn’t offer the desired facilities for tenants in the long run. Former member of the City Council Ken Fisher, now partner in the real estate practice at Cozen O’Connor, explained how the new zoning plan will impact development in one of New York’s most dense business districts.
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