The Real Estate Board of New York to The City Planning Commission Concerning 175 Park Avenue

Madeleine McGrory

Senior Policy & Planning Analyst

August 31, 2021

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The proposal offers significant benefits to both the neighborhood and the City at large, including significant public realm improvements, and subway and mass transit improvements to enhance circulation and reduce congestion at Grand Central Terminal, as well as job opportunities in the form of construction, retail and office jobs that will aid in the City’s economic recovery.

The project would substantially advance the goals of the Subdistrict to facilitate development of modern office towers at a key location, improve mass transit circulation and public space.

A principal goal of the Greater East Midtown rezoning was to increase the amount of new Class-A office space in the area. The proposed development will add significant office space to a uniquely transit-rich location adjacent to Grand Central Terminal and signal forward momentum in recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The development would include approximately 2,108,820 gsf of new office space, a significant upgrade compared to current office space in the area, which has an average age of 75 years. This office space would address the Subdistrict’s stated goal of preserving the neighborhood as a premiere business address and key job center for the City and Region. The development would result in 24,000 constructions jobs and thousands of office jobs. These jobs are not just an asset to our economy, they support the City’s goal of job growth in close proximity to public transit.

The project affords an unprecedented opportunity to make significant transit and public realm improvements at the site. The proposal will facilitate improvements to existing subway entrances, a new transit hall, increased sidewalk capacity, upgraded signage and new intermodal connections to improve circulation. Further, the approximately 25,000 square feet of high quality, ADA accessible public spaces in the form of three public open spaces located around the perimeter of the development site would provide significant public amenities and improve the working and living environment of the area for residents, workers, and tourists alike, consistent with the goals of the Subdistrict.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has previously weighed in on the application and found that the proposed development would have a harmonious relationship with Grand Central Terminal. Today, the City Planning Commission (Commission) is considering the project from the perspective of whether it would further the City’s planning and land use development goals for the East Midtown Subdistrict. Our answer is an unqualified “Yes.” The Commission should approve this application. Thank you for the consideration of these comments.