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CELEBRATING MANHATTAN SKYSCRAPERS continues here in Part 2, with tidbits gleaned from Stefano Chen’s “New York City’s Evolving Skyline,” The New York Times, June 9, 2019. Here, developers seek to sidestep complex building codes. Prospective residential and business occupants seek enhanced views from lofty perspectives. And, thus far, no one seems to be put off by prices soaring as well.
Buying Nearby Air. Developers have learned to game the complex building code regulations. There’s a limitation of allowable height and bulk depending on land area. One way around this is for a developer to buy up the “air rights” of adjacent properties. Another is to build taller but skinnier projects.
The Higher, the Better. Height is a real attraction to both residential and business occupants. Daniel Safarik, an editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, is quoted as saying, “You can’t even start residential occupancy below 20 floors in a lot of these buildings, because the view has already been blocked.”
One ploy of developers is incorporating “voids” into a building’s lower levels. These are ostensibly for housing heating/air conditioning and other building mechanicals. But, as Chen observes, these fake floors “effectively push apartments skyward for higher premiums.”
$$$/Sq. Ft. Each Sunday, The New York Times reports on a cost-based trio of homes available in different parts of the country: for example, in April 3, 2019, “$875,000 Homes in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and California. Also cited with each residence is the cost/sq. ft., in this particular piece, $236 for Greensboro, $257 for Milwaukee, and $503 for Sonoma County.
By contrast, Chen writes, “By 2007, some developers were getting $3000 a square foot, often on the strength of the views. In 2012, Dmitry Ryboloviev, a Russian billionaire, paid a record $13,049 a square foot for an $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West, a limestone high-rise with panoramic city views that pushed prices, and competing buildings, even higher.”
A Fool and his $cene May Soon be Parted. There’s a competition for taller and taller buildings, obviously putting height-challenged structures in their shadows. Also, Chen observes that “Much of the recent development was driven by the luxury condo market, which peaked around 2016, and there is a glut of new unsold apartments.”
“At the current pace of sales,” Chen quotes one appraiser, “it would take nine years to sell those 9000 unsold units.”
In the meantime, skyscrapers still inspire awe by being so spectacular. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019