Without City Council support, Bloomberg administration withdraws application for Midtown East rezoning
Without support from the City Council, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration withdrew an application to rezone East Midtown on Tuesday.
“This will unfortunately cost the area hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed subway and street improvements and $1 billion in additional tax revenue – as well as tens of thousands of new jobs that would have been created,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
The plan was one of the mayor’s last proposals, aiming to allow larger skyscrapers in 73 blocks near the Empire State Building.
The City Council was slated to vote on the plan Wednesday, but City Council members said they failed to reach a deal despite efforts from the Bloomberg administration.
“Creating new jobs in East Midtown — and across all of New York City — is essential. We can and should do more with the commercial corridor around Grand Central,” Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman Dan Garodnick said in a joint statement.
“However, a good idea alone is not enough to justify action today. We should rezone East Midtown, but only when we can do so properly,” they said.
The statement cited concerns over the price and timing of air rights and funding for the necessary infrastructure improvements, among other concerns.
Bloomberg said his administration has worked with community leaders and elected officials for two years to develop the “modest proposal.” He said $100 million from a financing agreement to pre-fund mass transit and public space improvements would be lost.
“The inability to reach a consensus on the plan’s details is regrettable, but it was encouraging that nearly everyone involved in the process recognized the need for the area to be rezoned to ensure that it remains competitive with other business districts around the world,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor added that he was “glad” to leave the next administration with a “blueprint for action.”
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the area needs to be rezoned, but applauded the City Council for waiting until concerns are addressed.
He said he would commit to presenting a revised Midtown East rezoning plan by the end of 2014.
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