Developers and Unions Lobby NYC to Expand Midtown East Upzoning

Former adversaries - developers along with labor and the construction industry - have formed "an unusual alliance" to push the Bloomberg administration to consider more expansive development rights for the area around Grand Central Terminal.

Charles V. Bagli reports on the lobbying efforts of the alliance dubbed "Midtown 21C: Coalition for a Globally Competitive NYC," who is "pressing the [Bloomberg] administration to loosen its proposed rules [for upzoning Midtown East] so that more skyscrapers can be built on more sites, at a quicker pace and at a lower cost."

Their position stands in contrast to community boards, preservationists, elected officials and the Municipal Art Society, who "have urged the city to slow down and do a rigorous assessment of the impact of more tall buildings on an already congested area. They say they fear that the proposal could lead to the demolition of historic buildings to make way for towers that would cast shadows over landmarks, like the Waldorf-Astoria and the MetLife Building."

"Nervous that the Council could scuttle the proposal and eager to make changes to the city’s plan, the real estate industry decided to build a united front with unions representing construction, building maintenance and hotel workers. Real estate executives credit Rob Speyer, a developer and the new chairman of the Real Estate Board, with the new strategy."

“Business and labor have a lot of common interests,” Mr. Speyer said. “We want to focus on our common ground. We’re sending a strong message to elected officials that labor and business are united on a given issue.”

Full Story: Developers and Unions Seek Eased Limits on Midtown Projects


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