Stuff You Should Know: How Air Rights Work

Posted On Thu, March 3, 2016 By

Posted On Thu, March 3, 2016 By In CityRealty, Features, Policy, real estate trends, stuff you should know, Urban Design

Image of One57 © Wade Zimmerman courtesy of Agence Christian de Portzamparc (ACDP)

“For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell.”

Most folks outside the architecture and real estate industries are likely to believe that putting up a new skyscraper is simply about finding an empty lot to build up. However, those in the know understand that it takes much more than a stretch of space and a good engineer to lock in neck-craning heights. So, how do developers squeeze ever more building onto small lots? Two words: air rights.

Ahead we will go through the history of air rights in New York City and how imaginative but completely lawful interpretations of zoning laws have opened up the city skyline to crazy tall towers like One57 and 432 Park (“You can be really creative the way you snake your way around the block,” says Thomas Kearns, Partner at Olshan Law Firm). We’ll also find out just how much owners of Manhattan’s precious air space can squeeze out of developers that want to build big.

LEARN MORE ABOUT AIR RIGHTS IN NYC…

 

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