What is this project?
The East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund was created by the Greater East Midtown Rezoning that the City Council adopted in August 2017. Under the terms of the rezoning, the fund must be used to pay for street and transit network improvements to benefit those who live and work in and around the area that was rezoned. Though the fund will be constituted of contributions by developers who purchase development rights (colloquially known as “air rights”) from landmarked buildings within the newly-created East Midtown subdistrict, the City started the fund off with $38 million in seed money.
The money in the fund will be allocated to pedestrian realm and transit network projects chosen by the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group. The Governing Group consists of 13 members, a majority of whom are appointed by the Mayor. Community Board 6 and Community Board 5 each have a representative on the Governing Group to help ensure that the community gets a say on which projects are funded.
For additional information about the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group and their meetings, consult their website.
What has been happening lately?
At its February 15, 2018 meeting, the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group voted to allocate funds to two projects: the construction of a public plaza at Pershing Square East and security bollards for East 43rd Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues, on which the City intends to implement a “shared street.”
JPMorgan Chase announced on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 that it will be developing a new 2.5 million square foot headquarters at 270 Park Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets. As JPMorgan Chase will be purchasing unused development rights to construct their building, the company will be required to contribute at least $40 million to the Public Realm Improvement Fund.
The next public meeting of the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group will be Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 2:00 to 3:30 PM at 120 Broadway (Concourse level).