East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund

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.”

The Governing Group has allocated its funds as follows:

$38 million (starting balance)

  • $15 million for a public plaza at Pershing Square East
  • $6.2 million for security bollards for the East 43rd Street Shared Street
  • $12.8 million for thoroughfare improvements along Lexington Avenue  from 41st to 48th Streets

Which leaves $4 million, at least until more funds are contributed.

JPMorgan Chase announced on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 that it will be demolishing its current building at 270 Park Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets in order to build a new 2.5 million square foot headquarters in its place. JPMorgan Chase has filed an application to purchase unused development rights from Grand Central Terminal to construct their new building. The company will be required to contribute at least $40 million to the Public Realm Improvement Fund if their application to purchase Grand Central’s development rights is approved. For more information about this project, click here.

The next public meeting of the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group will be Tuesday, October 30, 2018 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at 120 Broadway (Concourse level). Click here to view the meeting notice.