Sen. Hoylman: Plan Includes 'Outright Gifts' To Real Estate Industry

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers joined labor and business leaders Tuesday to protest against a rezoning plan that would affect a broad area around Grand Central Terminal.

As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, the Department of City Planning proposed the rezoning of the 73-block area, with the idea in mind of ensuring “the area’s future as a world-class business district and major job generator for New York City.”

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The plan includes incentives to promote the instruction of “a handful of new, state-of-the-art commercial buildings” in the years to come, and claims the existing buildings – which are an average of more than 70 years old – do not meet the needs of corporate tenants.

But state Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said the city needs to slow down and get it right. They joined union leaders, advocacy experts, and representatives from Manhattan community boards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to protest the current plan.

“This is the heart of Midtown. This is the historic Grand Central area, with so many residents, commuters, phenomenal historic buildings,” said state Sen. Liz Krueger.

And, Krueger went on, the city cannot rush the plan through because Mayor Michael Bloomberg is “on a timeline for checking out of City Hall.”

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Hoylman called the plan “quacking from a lame duck administration.”

“The plan is riddled with exceptions and outright gifts to the real estate industry – a fire sale on air rights far below market value; exceptions that allow certain well-connected developers to build early,” he said. “We need a seismic shift in the goals of this plan. The public needs to be paramount.”

The lawmakers also said the current proposal would leave $363 million on the table that could instead be used for transportation improvements.

The area up for rezoning is bounded by East 39th Street on the south, East 57th Street on the north, Second and Third avenues on the east, and a line 150 feet east of Fifth Avenue on the west.

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