For Immediate Release
March 30, 2015
Rachaele Raynoff - (212) 720-3471
Good afternoon commissioners.
I am delighted to be voting today on our proposed Vanderbilt Corridor rezoning and the application for One Vanderbilt, as these applications advance one of the first commitments that Mayor de Blasio made: to revitalize East Midtown as a world-class 21st Century commercial district, attract more quality jobs to New York City, and deliver vital infrastructure improvements. Landmarks would also have greater opportunity to transfer their unused development rights.
Our proposal creates a new Special Permit that would allow developments along the five Vanderbilt Corridor blocks adjacent to Grand Central Terminal from 42nd to 47th Streets to obtain increases in density in exchange for major improvements to the area’s public realm. The improvements must be undertaken at the developer’s risk and must be completed before any bonus space is occupied in order to assure that the public benefits are achieved. The proposal also enables area landmarks to transfer more of their unused development rights to potential receiving sites in the Vanderbilt Corridor as well as providing increased flexibility regarding the conditions by which the public could allow these development rights to be transferred.
The special permit process provides an opportunity for the public to comment on the public benefit derived from the improvements proposed as part of each major development in this vital area immediately around Grand Central.
All of these provisions in our proposal are responsive to issues raised by the community and elected officials during the previous East Midtown proposal. And in addition, modifications we make today to the text, suggested by the Manhattan Borough President, will provide the public with useful information with which to assess future proposals in the Vanderbilt Corridor.
The first application to use the new special permit and the modified landmark transfer is One Vanderbilt, which envisions a major new state-of-the-art, sustainable office building at the corner of East 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue that would provide a significant package of on-site and off-site transit and pedestrian improvements.
The special permit provides that in exchange for the right to construct a 67-story commercial building containing offices and retail uses, the developer will include new indoor and outdoor public space adjacent to the Terminal. Its package of improvements to the Grand Central-42nd Street subway station would not just benefit the surrounding area, but the functioning of the entire Lexington Line – the busiest line in the subway system. All of these improvements must be completed before the bonused space may be occupied.
The proposed building itself would be a significant addition to the East Midtown business district and to our skyline. It would provide the first new office space in at least a decade in the area around Grand Central Terminal, helping further the City’s goal of keeping East Midtown one of the best business addresses in the world. It would also be one of, if not the, most sustainable office buildings in the city.
I am also pleased to note that the Commission made modifications to the One Vanderbilt application responsive to the Manhattan Borough President that would improve the accessibility and amenity of the ground floor of the new building.
Madam Secretary, before you call for votes, I also want to acknowledge Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Dan Garodnick for their leadership on the community planning process for Greater East Midtown. I know that many New Yorkers are eagerly awaiting their draft recommendations in coming months.
I vote aye.