Is NYC getting it wrong by putting development ahead of infrastructure improvements?.
New York City officials are looking to pass new regulations that will allow for taller and more modern buildings throughout east Midtown. The demand for office space in the area is extremely high and city leaders would love to capitalize on it, but others worry that the efforts may be short-sighted given the city’s strained infrastructure. More from the New York Times:
With district improvement bonuses, the City Planning study proposes to double the developable floor area on some sites around Grand Central, allowing enough additional square footage to give us a neighborhood of towering office buildings, some as tall as 1,300 feet or more. (For reference, the Chrysler Building is 1,046 feet to the top of its spire.)
But how will the added workers quartered in these new buildings get from their trains to their desks? The plan says that special assessments and payments in lieu of taxes will guarantee “pedestrian network improvements as development occurs.” There is nothing wrong with privately financed infrastructure improvements. But the study, if I read it correctly, gets it backward: first you put in the infrastructure, then you build the buildings. Look at the example of Grand Central, the private enterprise that spurred all this development in the first place.