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The Future of Midtown

What’s New York’s vision for the neighborhood that anchors its most beloved landmark, provides perhaps the most prestigious business addresses in the world and is the hub to a critically important regional transportation network? Over the past few months MAS has been convening a group of stakeholders– ranging from property owners, to tenants, to residents, to civic organizations, to architects, to planners–to consider a potential re-zoning of East Midtown and the Grand Central Terminal District developed by the Department of City Planning. These discussions have been rich, broad and diverse. And at the heart of these discussions is the question of vision. City Planning is proposing an up zoning to encourage the development of attractive new Class A office space and maybe even a spectacular new tower or two–new development intended to see to it that New York City keeps up with what other global capitals are offering, by increasing the supply of high quality office space and providing resources to fund some essential improvements to the public realm and transit network. Advocates of this plan refer to it as bold. But is it? Based on the broad input of a wide array of interests, MAS is developing a range of recommendations for consideration. “A truly holistic vision for East Midtown–including an appropriate public investment in needed infrastructure, a comprehensive plan for the public realm and a commitment to a vibrant, diverse, environmentally cutting edge district–is the bold thinking we need to expect from the City, to ensure East Midtown remains truly world class,” noted Vin Cipolla, president of MAS. The time frame for review and approval set out by the Department of City Planning is an ambitious one, with the initial scoping hearing for the environmental review being held today. In a few weeks, MAS will convene our city’s most innovative thinkers, at the MAS Summit for New York City on October 18 and 19. The issues the potential redevelopment of East Midtown poses are central to our work in advocating for a city that is livable and resilient for all New Yorkers. So please join us at our Summit to get engaged in this important conversation and to help us define the future of Midtown.