NEW YORK CITY-The Planning Commission voted to rezone the eastern portion of 125th Street, which now gives preference to commercial development in the central core of the district. Developed by the Department of City Planning with Harlem stakeholders over four years, the plan is designed to catalyze new mixed-use development while protecting the scale of the corridor’s commercial and historic brownstone areas, according to a prepared statement.

The framework establishes height limits for the first time along the corridor. Vornado Realty Trust, Thor Equities LLC, both locally based, and Chicago-based General Growth Properties have all previously mentioned that they are going to bid on the project, but did not respond to queries by deadline. In order to ensure retail diversity, special regulations restrict the amount of the street frontage that may be occupied by banks and by office and residential lobbies. The zoning also requires the inclusion of arts and entertainment uses for developments over a certain size and it establishes an arts bonus–the first in the City–to promote the development of more than 90,000 sf of new non-profit visual arts and performance space. The rezoning is also expected to produce more than one million sf of office space and more than 7,000 jobs.

Hugh Finnegan, an attorney in the real estate group at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, tells that there will be a number of existing owners and future owners, in the whole rezoning area, who will benefit.

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