Council Also Votes on Legislation Improving Access to Information on Building Owners and
Bill Requiring the City Clerk to Provide Information on Same-Sex Marriages
City Hall – At today’s Stated Meeting, the Council will vote to approve a proposal for 15 Penn Plaza on the Westside of Manhattan. The project will create 7,000 new jobs and will include $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements to the area.
The Council will also vote on legislation cracking down on landlords who evade their legal responsibilities to their tenants by hiding behind a corporate entity. The Council will take action by requiring additional, publicly available information regarding the ownership of residential buildings. In addition to improving the City’s ability to enforce the housing maintenance code which will lead to safer, more habitable housing, this legislation will also make it easier for tenants to contact their landlords in the event they have questions or concerns about their building.
The Council will also vote to require that the City’ Clerk’s office provide information to same-sex couples seeking domestic partnerships. The information will direct couples to jurisdictions where they can obtain marriages that would be recognized by New York State so that they can make an informed decision about options available to them.
15 Penn Plaza
Creating thousands of jobs and improving transportation infrastructure in one of New York City’s major transit hubs, the Council will vote on a zoning plan for 15 Penn Plaza, a proposed high-rise development in Manhattan’s Midtown West. At the current site of Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Street, the development would be 67 floors and reach 1,190 feet in height. Additionally, it would contain 2.04 million square feet of office space, 11,126 square feet of retail use, and up to 100 underground parking spaces.
Directly adjacent to North America’s busiest transportation hub, this development will also include $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements financed by Vornado Realty Trust, the owner and developer of the site. Specifically, the plan includes a complete reconstruction of the old Gimbels passageway which runs beneath 33rd Street connecting Penn Station to Herald Square. The new passageway would create an underground network of corridors connecting 6th to 8th Avenue, akin to Grand Central and Rockefeller Center.
This development is projected to generate a $3.3 billion annual increase in economic output and create 7,000 new jobs.
“Let there be no confusion – This speaker and this Council stand for creating jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the central point to my state of the city address and it’s what fuels so much of our work here at the Council. I’m thrilled to see the potential of thousands of new jobs being created by this project,” said Speaker Quinn. “We want the new Rockefeller Centers and the new Chrysler Buildings to keep this town thriving. This proposal is not removing the beauty of the Empire State Building from our skyline, or even diminishing it. The Empire State Building will forever be a mark on the unmistakable New York City skyline and will forever be one of many images of our great city..”
“In a dynamic, evolving city such as New York, we have to be unafraid to embrace the need to expand, excite, and enable commerce to grow,” said Land Use Committee Chair Leroy Comrie. “This project will achieve a new desire and viability to attract new businesses to New York City. Additionally, I appreciate Vornado’s expressed promise to engage in a process that will include MWB/E and ensure all New Yorkers have the ability to participate in such a large development. This project also ensures that significant improvements are made to the mass transit operations of this entire area. There will be a number of new subway entrances and underground passageways that would lead from sixth to ninth avenues, allowing New Yorkers to have easier access to transportation. I want to thank all New Yorkers who testified, called our offices, and expressed their viewpoint on this major project.”
“15 Penn Plaza will be a modern, state-of-the art office building that creates thousands of jobs, generates billions in economic activity, and advances New York City’s economic growth,” said Council Member Mark S. Weprin, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “The hundred million dollars in mass transit improvements will improve a vital transportation hub that connects the transit lines in the midtown area.”
Providing Information on Building Owners
Currently, contact information for a managing agent and corporate officers is made available. However, the managing agent or corporate officers may not actually have any ownership interest in the building. Changing the information that is required to actual building owners will increase transparency and will be a powerful tool in addressing bad or dangerous situations in a building. This legislation will require that the name and address of any individual who owns more than twenty-five percent of any residential building be included in the annual multiple dwelling registration form that owners must file each year.
By requiring building owners to provide clearer ownership information on the publicly available multiple dwelling registration form, the legislation before the Council today will improve the city’s Housing Maintenance Code enforcement abilities and a tenant’s ability to raise concerns with his/her landlord.
“Today, the New York City Council is sending a message that landlords should not be allowed to hide behind shell companies as tenants scramble to resolve housing issues,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Thanks to this legislation, tenants will have access to the names and contact information of the principal partners of these corporate entities that are increasingly the owners of our city’s residential buildings. Additionally, these corporations will no longer be able to provide the City with the address of a mail handling facility instead of a real brick and mortar address where the true owners of the building can be reached. I would like to thank Speaker Quinn and Housing & Buildings Committee Chair Dilan, as well as the advocates, particularly Make the Road New York, for their work on this legislation.”
Informing About Where Same-Sex Marriages Are Available
The Council will vote on legislation that will require the City Clerk to provide information to the public, particularly those who are seeking a domestic partnership, listing all jurisdictions that perform same sex marriages that would be recognized as valid marriages by the state of New York. The information will be provided on the City Clerk’s website, and will be posted and available in hard copy at all of the marriage bureau locations.
The legislation will make information available to same-sex couples considering domestic partnership registration so that they can make more fully informed decisions regarding domestic partnership registration and marriage.
“Domestic partnership registration and benefits are an important part of the benefits the City of New York gives out,” said Speaker Quinn. “I’m proud we have this option because we fought for it. I’m also proud we have it because for some people, LGBT or heterosexual, domestic partnership is the way they want to confirm and affirm their relationship. This is an option people utilize and that is good for people to have. The obvious deficiency is that LGBT New Yorkers who want to be married don’t currently have that choice in the state of New York. By informing LGBT couples of where they can go to obtain a marriage that will then be recognized within their home state, we are arming them with information so that together with their partners, they can make the best decision for their relationship.”
“By requiring the City Clerk to post the jurisdictions performing same-sex marriages that are recognized as valid marriages in New York, we are empowering same-sex couples to make better informed decisions while considering domestic partnership registration and marriage. These decisions determine the rights and benefits available to couples and their families, and the City is serving New Yorkers by advising them on the choices available under the law,” said Governmental Operations Committee Chair Gale Brewer.