East Midtown Zoning Amendments

The concept of a global economy has long been a reality as the financial power centers of London, New York and Dubai, among others, are ever more interconnected and the world’s largest corporations are truly multi-national. For many large U.S.-based companies, the domestic market is only a fraction of their total sales. Against this backdrop, New York is not simply competing with other North American cities for business and professional talent, but with major cities on nearly every continent. To stay competitive in this environment, the Bloomberg administration believes it is necessary to modernize the zoning regulations for the central core of the midtown business district to enable higher development yields and to create private-sector funding mechanisms for necessary infrastructure upgrades.

The area covered extends north from 39th Street to 57th Street and from just east of 5th Avenue to generally 3rd Avenue, encompassing all or part of 73 blocks that include many of the tallest and most famous skyscrapers in the world, as well as Grand Central Station. Not coincidentally, it is also among the densest business districts in the world, and its sidewalks, buses and subway lines often operate at or over capacity. A 1982 resolution lowered the allowable densities, successfully stabilizing the build-out rate for this area and encouraging development in other parts of the City, particularly around Times Square, but also stifled a rejuvenation of older building stock.

Read the full policy paper here.