Updated: What's Next for Midtown East?

The failure of Mayor Bloomberg to get his Midtown East rezoning plan through the New York City Counsel is a disaster for commercial real estate developers.

But it may just be prosperity postponed.

The on-the-ground basics that sparked the now-lame duck mayor to launch the plan ensures that it comes back, albeit changed to address the flaws in Michael Bloomberg’s original.

Most of the buildings in the 73-block area around Grand Central Terminal area are more than 50 years old, and aren’t up to current office stock standards in international cities.  The city needs the money that developers will bring to the new buildings to improve the streets, subways and infrastructure that will surround them, not to mention the tax dollars that the structures will generate.

So the plan will be back.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio supports the idea if not the specifics.  He told the Daily News yesterday that he will revise the zoning plan by the end of next year.

De Blasio would do well to make a top priority for his revision figuring out the key issues that Democrats told the New York Times yesterday that the plan didn’t adequately address: “price and methodology for selling development rights within the district; building density; and the uncertainty of funding for improvements to the transit system and the streets, which would be filled with many more riders and much more traffic.”

Adequate answers on transit system improvements alone will pave the way to getting the support that the Times points out that the Bloomberg plan, despites its virtues, never mustered.

Meantime, the finger pointing in the other direction has begun, with a dose of outrage.  In “Craven blow to Midtown East hopes,” New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo responded to the abandonment of the plan early this morning by blasting “lame-duck Speaker Christine Quinn and weak-willed City Councilman Dan Garodnick.”

Heaping scorn on critics’ open space and transit access concerns as well “progress-averse Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio,” Cuozzo says that Midtown East development is finished and that the 73-block area is forever second-tier, if not doomed altogether: “the entrenched political and ideological opposition to rezoning will likely ensure that ‘properly’ means never.”

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