New Regulations on NYC Towers

New York City has cracked down on luxury towers soaring in height. Intended for wealthy homebuyers, these residential buildings rise close to 2,000 feet – more specifically, 432 Park Ave.

One feature that is being targeted in these buildings are floors that aren’t used for residential spaces but structural and mechanical equipment.

Developers of several luxury towers have found a loophole in the city’s tight zoning laws. Floors intended for structural and mechanical purposes don’t count against the building’s maximum size, therefore leveraging the height of new structures.

The primary motivation for building structures this tall is for the panoramic views for residents and immense profits for developers.

The NY Times reported that many of the residential towers stay vacant for most of the year so their owners aren’t subject to local and state income taxes because they’re not city residents.

Manhattan’s complicated building regulations are meant to produce predictable developments. Although height requirements are imposed in most parts of the city, there are still areas that are exempt from the same requirements.

Harry B. Macklowe, developer of 432 Park Ave, agrees with the effort to establish firm rules around mechanical spaces. However, he rejected claims that his building was using them to rise higher.

He also emphasizes that without the large open-air floors, 432 Park Ave would noticeably sway — and residents would take note.

State lawmakers have proposed a pied-a-terre tax, which is an annual recurring tax on second homes that are worth more than $5 million.

Additionally, every block is assigned a max square footage, which can spread across smaller buildings on a block.

The Real Estate Board of New York, the industry’s influential lobbying arm, said that the rules were too restrictive and at odds with engineering trends, such as energy-efficient batteries.

The requirement is projected to cost building owners more than $4 billion in retrofit costs.

Mayor De Blasio emphasized that the city will levy “serious fines” against building owners that don’t comply, some as high as $1 million.

He continued stating, “If someone wants to build one of those things, they can take a whole lot of steps to make it energy efficient,” as reported by The Real Deal.

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