As Bloomberg administration winds down, a "frenzy" before City Planning; still no campaign talk about who'd replace Burden
A derelict sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the world's largest indoor ice-skating complex in the Bronx and a 63-story Ferris wheel on Staten Island are among a crush of projects that developers are trying to get through the Department of City Planning before the pro-development Bloomberg administration comes to a close on Dec. 31, and its powerful chairwoman, Amanda Burden, steps down.This also helps explain why the real estate industry, via the PAC Jobs for New York, is pushing so hard to have so much impact in City Council races.
Adding to the pressure on the department, the mayor himself is looking to win approval on a number of his own legacy projects, including a massive rezoning of midtown east.
The reason for the frenzy is simple: The planning commission, along with the City Council, has the final say on the shape of all land-use projects. Without City Planning's approval now, dozens of projects will need to start from square one with a commission headed by the new mayor's appointees—seven of the 13 members—a prospect that will add great uncertainty, and potentially months or even years of work.
...The projects now heaped at the department's downtown door at 22 Reade St. roughly fall into three categories: city-led developments, private projects and those being pursued by private developers on public property. For many, it almost feels like now or never.
Who's next Burden?
And it raises a question that I haven't heard discussed in any of the mayoral debates or, frankly, on the campaign trail: who would the candidates choose to replace Amanda Burden? Yes, the chair works for the mayor, but suggesting a name--as real estate industry people did months ago, in Crain's--sure helps voters understand the candidate's posture.