428-432 East 58th Street

Architecture, Policy

520 Park Avenue, mechanical levels, residential levels, building on stilts

Image by CityRealty

There has been plenty of heated discussion over the city’s latest supertall towers such as 432 Park Avenue111 West 57th Street, and 225 West 57th Street; they block light, alter the skyline and cast long shadows, for example. To add fuel to the fire, Crain’s reports today on a recent discovery in developers’ attempts to construct the tallest towers possible–with views above 700 feet that not only stretch south over Manhattan, but reach to the open Atlantic Ocean 14 miles in the distance.

Currently, regulations govern how many square feet of livable space can be built on a development plot, which limits the height to which residential towers can rise. But rather than squandering those square feet on lower, less-in-demand floors, developers are vertically expanding the mechanical spaces used in their buildings–which don’t count toward the square footage allotment. This allows them to start their apartments higher up, essentially “putting a skyscraper on stilts.”

Start higher, build taller

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