New York | Monday, October 8th, 2012
Michael Bloomberg’s protracted mayoral stint will (most likely) end in 14 months, but his stamp on the city will be visible for decades. The mayor’s latest legacy move doesn’t involve salt, nicotine or big gulp sodas, but arguably the city’s most iconic landmark : the midtown skyline.
Worried that New York’s development is lagging behind Hong Kong’s and London’s while being hampered by zoning restrictions and bureaucratic red tape, Bloomberg has proposed a dramatic rewriting of building rules that would let skyscrapers climb to up to twice their current heights. The mayor’s administration points out that 300 of the 400 buildings in the Midtown East district are more than 50 years old and that without an overhaul encouraging modern buildings “the top Class A tenants who have been attracted to the area in the past would begin to look elsewhere for space.”
Some urban planners are wary of the plan, noting that infrastructure in the neighborhood is already strained. Bloomberg hopes that the City Council disregards objections and passes the resolution by October of next year.