(Rebecca Fishbein) It looks like the city's going full-steam ahead when it comes to getting Bloomberg's Midtown East rezoning plan approved; the administration has recently made a number of amendments to their proposal to bring new office space development to the area, and they're going to make some people very rich.
The plan, which would allow for the development of office buildings potentially taller than the Empire State building in the area surrounding Grand Central Terminal, has seen some opposition from city officials since initial plans were unveiled last summer, with council members like Dan Gorodnick, who represents the area, voicing concern that added development will increase congestion and put too much stress on public transportation. The Municipal Arts Society of New York has been particularly vocal about the rezoning's potential consequences for the city, noting that increased development could dwarf iconic landmarks like the Chrysler Building, in addition to further stressing the area's infrastructure.
But Bloomberg's people have made a number of amendments to their initial proposal, including one that would give landmarked buildings permission to sell their unused development rights to office tower developers. This would give landmarked buildings like St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Bartholomew’s Church some much-needed added cash for improvements and upkeep; for the 21-story landmarked Lever House, however, the amendment would put the development rights profits right in the owners' pockets, bringing them an estimated $75 million.
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