Greater East Midtown Planning Proposal Enters Public Review Process

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Greater East Midtown Planning Proposal Enters Public Review Process

On January 3, 2017, the New York City Planning Commission began the public review process for the Greater East Midtown planning proposal. This marks the beginning of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the project. Parts of the proposed rezoning area are in the northern part of Murray Hill.

The Greater East Midtown planning proposal is intended to encourage new state-of-the-art office space in Midtown East, facilitate transit upgrades to six midtown subway stations, provide an improved pedestrian experience and support historic preservation.
The proposal covers the area roughly between the east side of Third Avenue and the west side of Madison Avenue, from East 39th Street to East 57th Street. City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod said, “The Greater East Midtown area is the city’s premier business district. It generates approximately 10 percent of the city’s entire real estate taxes, so it is essential that it continues to maintain its status as a world class economic magnet.”

The Greater East Midtown proposal would establish a Special Subdistrict in which greater density would be permitted, with the densest developments appropriately located near transit and along wide streets. Although the existing zoning districts would remain largely unchanged, property owners may build taller buildings if they contribute to:

  1. Key transit improvements at specified subway lines, including Grand Central (4,5,6,7,S and others)
  2. Historic preservation, by purchasing air rights transferred from landmarked buildings in the Special Subdistrict
  3. A Public Realm Improvement Fund

Under certain conditions, buildings that are currently "overbuilt" (have higher density than current zoning allows) can be rebuilt to the same density if a developer wants to put up a new building or renovate the overbuilt building. Public realm improvements, called the "Concept Plan," include pedestrian plazas, shared streets and sidewalk and crosswalk improvements intended to enhance pedestrian safety.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission granted landmark status to 12 iconic historic buildings in Greater East Midtown. The properties were identified through the agency’s Greater East Midtown Initiative and their protection is part of the NYC Administration’s multi-agency effort to plan for the future of one of New York City’s most dynamic neighborhoods.

Manhattan Community Boards 5 and 6 have until March 13 to review the Greater East Midtown proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President and the Manhattan Borough Board, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The DCP website provides additional details on the zoning proposal and the ULURP time table.

On June 7, 2017, the City Planning Commission approved a modified version of a major planning initiative that has been proposed by Mayor de Blasio. The City Council will hold a public hearing on this proposal on June 20, 2017 at the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. NYC Council website page on the Greater East Midtown Plan.

Updated 1/29/17, 6/14/17





LPC Greater East Midtown Initiative
NYC Planning Commission Press Release 1/3/17
NYC Planning Commission Website - Greater East Midtown
Shared Streets Press Release


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