Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Wonderful Loopholes of New York City Luxury Apartment Construction

The great economist Ludwig von Mises was a big fan of loopholes that countered intrusive government regulations.

He once said with regard to tax loopholes that “capitalism breathes through those loopholes.”

It is with this observation of Mises in mind that I cheer the loopholes that are allowing magnificent new luxury skyscrapers to be built currently built in New York City.

The New York Times reports:
Some of the tallest residential buildings in the world soar above Central Park, including 432 Park Avenue, which rises 1,400 feet and features an array of penthouses and apartments for the ultrarich.

But 432 Park also has an increasingly common feature in these new towers: swaths of unoccupied space. About a quarter of its 88 floors will have no homes because they are filled with structural and mechanical equipment.

The building and nearby towers are able to push high into the sky because of a loophole in the city’s labyrinthine zoning laws. Floors reserved for structural and mechanical equipment, no matter how much, do not count against a building’s maximum size under the laws, so developers explicitly use them to make buildings far higher than would otherwise be permitted.

The towers benefiting the most from the zoning quirk have all sprouted during the past half-decade: enormous glass and steel buildings with lavish condominiums that sell for millions of dollars. Many line the blocks around Central Park, some of the most expensive and coveted real estate in the city, and have become second homes for Chinese billionaires, European tycoons and out-of-state hedge fund investors.
But, like out of an Ayn Rand novel, there are beautiful skyscraper haters.

More from The Times:
But the proliferation of these buildings is provoking a backlash amid a broader debate about affordable housing, megaprojects for the ultrarich and the city’s identity. Now, officials are seeking to rein in developers by proposing rules that would apply unusually large mechanical spaces toward a building’s height limit.

The motivation to build tall is obvious: panoramic views for residents and hefty profits for developers. A 95th floor condominium at 432 Park Avenue sold in December for $30.7 million, or about $7,592 a square foot. That same month, a unit about halfway down the building sold for $4,216 a square foot.

“It’s pretty outrageous, but it’s also pretty clever,” said George M. Janes, a planning consultant who has tracked and filed challenges against buildings in New York with vast unoccupied spaces. “What is the primary purpose of these spaces? The primary purpose is to build very tall buildings.”
What is wrong with building very tall buildings when renters are willing to pay more in rent for high floors?  To object to this is just progress hate. If you don't like tall buildings move to Wyoming.

New tall structures are a sign of a vibrant, growing city. I love seeing new buildings going up more than seeing new flowers bloom.



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