The last major rezoning push by the Bloomberg Administration in Manhattan could be upzoning the grand dames around Park, Madison and Grand Central. On June 6, the Department of City Planning went to Community Boards 5 and 6 to open the discussion on East Midtown, a-yet-to-be-defined business district surrounding Grand Central. While Midtown is hardly a tabula rasa along the lines of Hudson Yards, rezoning has the potential, according to Edith Hsu-Chen, director of DCP’s Manhattan office, to “seed” a healthy amount of new development for the next ten, 20, or 30 years.
At least one developer has already taken notice. Earlier this month The Wall Street Journal reported that SL Green, one of the city’s largest commercial property owners, has assembled a one-block parcel right next door to Grand Central between Madison and Vanderbilt on 42nd Street to be developed in a joint venture with architect-savvy developer Hines. The company has already rehabbed several old buildings in East Midtown, including 62-year-old 100 Park Avenue, which sports 14 green rooftops and LEED Silver certification. “If we don’t do something now,” Mary Anne Tighe, the powerful broker and CBRE chief officer has said, “in the fullness of time we might find these areas have become orphans.”