City Council Adopts East Midtown Rezoning
On Wednesday August 9, 2017, City Council adopted with modifications the proposed zoning text amendment that establishes the East Midtown Subdistrict within the Special Midtown District. The approved Greater East Midtown text amendment can be found on the Department of City Planning’s (DCP)website N 170186(A) ZRM. The East Midtown Subdistrict is a 78-block area running from East 39th Street to East 57th Street, from Third to Madison Avenues.
The East Midtown area is a business hub, already containing 60 million square feet of office space. This amendment increases as of right Floor Area Ratios (FARs) for commercial uses from 12.0 to 15.0 to as high as 18.0 to 27.0 in the East Midtown Subdistrict. Such increased FARs can be achieved in various ways including:
- The Transfer of Landmarked Development Rights: The rezoned area has roughly 3.6 million square feet of landmarked development rights that can now be more easily transferred. A public realm improvement fund will receive either 20 percent of the value of these air rights sales or $61.49 per square foot-whichever is greater.
- The Rebuilding of Legally Non-Compliant Floor Area: Existing non-complying buildings that are overbuilt can be completely rebuilt to the same square footage as complying buildings, subject to CPC approval, utilizing the existing non-compliant floor area without being subject to the limitations of ZR 54-41 which only allows a building to be reconstructed with non-complying bulk if 75% or less of the building is demolished.
- The completion of direct improvements to below-grade transit infrastructure: FARs will be increased for specified transit improvements. The site to benefit from such increased FAR must be within a designated transit improvement district as defined within the subdistrict.
Additionally, as part of the rezoning, sites of 30,000 sf or more must provide an indoor or outdoor public space; sites of 45,000 sf or more must provide a public outdoor space except when precluded from doing so by district plan rules, and sites of 65,000 sf or more must either dedicate 10 percent of its site to public