Under Leadership of Council Member Keith Powers, City Council Passes First Project through East Midtown Rezoning
May 8, 2019, New York, NY: The New York City Council today approved JPMorgan’s new headquarters as the first site to utilize the City’s East Midtown Rezoning. City Council Member Keith Powers led negotiations for improvements at the 270 Park Avenue site, which will result in thousands of new construction jobs for New York City and pedestrian improvements in Midtown. The bank announced in February 2018 that it would remain in Midtown to rebuild its global headquarters after consideration of locations both in and out of New York City.
As a part of the project, JPMorgan made a $42 million contribution to the public realm improvement fund following an air rights purchase from Grand Central Terminal in 2018, per the requirements of East Midtown Rezoning. JPMorgan is expected to welcome back 14,000 jobs to its new headquarters upon the project’s completion, serving as the area’s largest employer. Demolition of the existing building has started and construction of the new building is projected to begin in January 2021. The project is expected to create 6,000 union construction jobs. As JPMorgan plans to demolish its existing building, all 175 current building maintenance staff have been relocated to office spaces occupied by the bank.
“JPMorgan’s plans for 270 Park Avenue exceed the vision for East Midtown Rezoning,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “This development sets a precedent for what is possible for Midtown. The project fulfills the intention of the rezoning with more jobs and neighborhood improvements. I am hopeful others will use this as an example to bring substantial public impact. JPMorgan has been a conscientious partner in planning its new headquarters, and took input from the City and community in a way that will bring significant improvements to Midtown.”
“Today’s City Council vote is a critical step in making the new JPMorgan Chase headquarters at 270 Park Avenue a reality. On behalf of our company, I’d like to thank the policy makers and public officials involved in the process for their constructive engagement throughout this process,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. “City Council Member Powers has been a strong advocate to get to an outcome that is best for our company, the community and the City. I’d also like to thank the Speaker and the committee chairs on their leadership on this important issue. The vote today validates Chase’s commitment to New York City as our global headquarters and helps to ensure midtown remains a world class destination for business and New Yorkers.”
The zoning text amendment was modified through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) with JPMorgan responding to feedback that increased the amount of public open space on the site from 7,000 to 10,000-square feet along Madison Avenue. The company has also committed to more than 35,000-square feet of sidewalk enhancements and open space at the street level.
“Today is a major step forward in delivering benefits that were promised to the East Midtown neighborhood and New Yorkers across the City,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Those benefits include thousands of jobs in a premier central business district, as well as the delivery of real time transit improvements that will allow New Yorkers from across the five boroughs to access those jobs. Thanks to all of the partners for their hard work keeping New York competitive and promoting inclusive development.”
“There’s no doubt about it, the Greater East Midtown plan is off to an incredible start. With the City Council’s approval of this first project, we’ll see significant investments in New York City’s premier central business district – investments in public transportation, in streets and in sidewalks – by one of the world’s largest banks, which is also one of the City’s largest employers,” said Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning. “That benefits our city’s residents, workers and visitors. Thank you, Council Member Powers, for your dedication to ensuring that this important, job-generating project will come to fruition.”
“JPMorgan’s new headquarters will provide public realm improvements and open space that brings vitality to their building and the area, assets that follow the major tenets of the East Midtown rezoning passed in 2017,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank Councilmember Powers and Manhattan Community Board 5 for their diligent work throughout the public review process to help reap benefits above and beyond the rezoning.”
“JPMorgan’s development shows that the East Midtown Rezoning plan is not only generating impressive economic activity, but also delivering clear and tangible benefits to the public,” said former Council Member Dan Garodnick,one of the architects of the plan. “I congratulate Council Member Powers and the City Council for approving this important project that will bring tens of millions of dollars of improvements.”
“270 Park Avenue will play an important role in East Midtown,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Chairperson, Committee on Land Use. “Through ongoing conversations between Council Member Keith Powers and JPMorgan, New Yorkers will benefit from 10,000 square feet of open-air public space and a multi-million dollar public fund to help facilitate neighborhood infrastructure. I congratulate Council Member Powers on the approval of this project, as well as his efforts to secure numerous public commitments.”
“I want to thank and applaud Council Member Powers and JPMorgan Chase for working together to deliver a project that goes above and beyond what is required and will provide much-needed resources for the public,” said Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “JPMorgan Chase’s willingness to be a good neighbor and contribute to the wellbeing of its community ought to be a benchmark for others moving forward.”
“The signing of this text amendment represents a big win for New York City,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “We look forward to working on the visionary JPMorgan project, which will be built entirely by union hands and create even more middle-class careers for the hardworking men and women in New York.”
“We are happy to support JPMorgan Chase’s project to build a state-of-the-art, energy efficient tower in the heart of Manhattan,” said Kyle Bragg, Secretary Treasurer of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service union in the country with 80,000 members in New York. “The projects will bring much-needed good jobs into the community while allowing 32BJ members to build their green building skills.”
“We thank Council Member Keith Powers and Borough President Gale Brewer for working to support our demand that JPMorgan Chase fulfill its obligation under the East Midtown rezoning to create 10,000 square feet of open space. We welcome, in addition, the work JPMC will be doing to accommodate all its new employees with transit enhancements and a wider sidewalk,” said Vikki Barbero, Community Board 5 Chair. “Even as we applaud the new jobs JPMC will be bringing to our district, we need to always ensure that our public realm and our fraying infrastructure is commensurately expanded in conjunction with any new development.”
“I applaud JPMorgan Chase for bringing to life this amazing new project facilitated by East Midtown Rezoning, that demonstrates its long-term commitment to Greater Midtown East and the Grand Central neighborhood with a 21st Century headquarters meeting the needs of its workforce and global business; while creating a spectacular open and accessible public space that will activate Madison Avenue in a way never before seen,” said Fred Cerullo, President and CEO of the Grand Central Partnership. “All of us at GCP commend our Councilmember Keith Powers and Borough President Gale Brewer and the entire JPMorgan Chase team for their vision and determination throughout this process solidifying our neighborhoods reputation as the world’s central business district.”
East Midtown was rezoned by the City Council in August 2017 to revitalize economic, business, and job growth in the central business district, while improving public open space and transportation in the 73-block commercial area. According to the Department of City Planning, developers are incentivized to achieve maximum development through pre-identified transit improvements, the transfer of landmark air rights, or the rebuilding of overbuilt floor area. A significant component of the rezoning included the creation of a District Improvement Fund, also known as the public realm improvement fund, which developers contribute to in order to fund public improvements from the sale of landmark air rights.
The East Midtown Governing Group, an advisory committee composed of elected and city officials of which Council Member Powers is vice-chair, was created to ensure East Midtown satisfies public realm improvements under the rezoning.
About Council Member Keith Powers
Keith Powers is Council Member for the East Side of Manhattan, covering Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, East Midtown, Midtown West, and part of the Upper East Side. Council Member Powers serves as Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, and is vice co-chair of budget for the Progressive Caucus.