Midtown East rezoning plan shelved

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Plans to rezone Manhattan's Midtown East area for new high-rise development have been shelved after negotiations to bring the project to a City Council vote failed Tuesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg withdrew the proposal and left the issue to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to resolve. In a statement, de Blasio said "unanswered questions" must be addressed and he pledged to offer a revised plan by the end of next year.

Bloomberg's proposal would have given landlords who own properties in a 73-block area surrounding Grand Central Terminal the right to raise their building heights and purchase air rights from the city.

Several residents and elected officials, including Councilman Daniel Garodnick, a Democrat who represents the neighborhood, expressed concerns that the rezoning would hurt smaller-building owners and that the city was setting asking prices for airspace too low.

"With so many outstanding issues, there is no good reason to rush the proposal through," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Garodnick said in a joint statement.

Bloomberg said he was disappointed. The money collected for the airspace would have been used to improve pedestrian and transit access near Grand Central.

De Blasio said the council was right to hit "the pause button" while reviewing how infrastructure will be built to handle more people in the area and ways to make sure that development rights are "appropriately priced. "

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