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Property Owners Jostle for Deals After Midtown East Rezoning

A flurry of air rights purchases have already begun as large property owners take advantage of Midtown East's upzoning. Some big names include JPMorgan Chase and the Archdiocese of New York.
March 1, 2018, 1pm PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Billie Grace Ward

We've been following the saga of Midtown East's contentious upzoning plan, from a failed attempt under Mayor Bloomberg to Mayor de Blasio's successful bid for approval last year. Sooner than anticipated, major property owners are moving on plans to rework the district.

JPMorgan Chase has been one of the first to move. As Crain's reports, "JPMorgan Chase announced that it would demolish its headquarters at 270 Park Ave. [...] and construct a 2.5 million-square-foot office tower in its place." Of $200 million the bank would have to shell out for new air rights, "the city would receive about $40 million of that for a public-improvement fund to spruce up the district's streetscape."

The Archdiocese of New York also has plans. "It was unclear exactly what the church had in mind, but St. Patrick's Cathedral is sitting on a gold mine of about 1 million square feet of unused development rights. Even at the minimum price per square foot, that equates to $300 million, with roughly $60 million of that going to the public-improvement fund."

Other places of worship may also sell their rights. "[...] many landmarked properties, such as St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church and Central Synagogue, might be happy to fund repairs to their buildings by cashing in on their air rights under the more expansive transfer laws baked into the rezoning."

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Published on Sunday, February 25, 2018 in Crain's New York Business
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