The next building vying to be the tallest on the Upper West Side won its case before a city board on Tuesday, but it will receive an extra review of the “mechanical voids” in the middle of the building. Extell’s building at 50 West 66th Street is set to rise 775 feet, but has drawn opposition from some city organizations, including Landmark West and the City Club. September 17 2019 Read more.
crains: Scrutiny into Extell's Upper West Side tower's mechanical space will continue
Municipal Arts Society: SUmmit for new york city 2019:Fight for light
The MAS Summit for New York City returns on October 25!
Now in its tenth year, our signature conference connects a diverse audience of policy-makers, industry leaders, and engaged citizens in a daylong dialogue about the most important issues affecting New York and other global urban centers. Read more
Our town: West 66th St. Tower Battle Drags On Lawyers, residents and elected officials clash in a chilly room downtown
For three hours last week, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals sat in their crowded chambers downtown at 22 Reade Street and listened to dense arguments from lawyers and impassioned pleas from elected officials and stakeholders about whether a 69-story tower should or should not be built on the Upper West Side.
August 12, 2019 Read more.
Curbed: City Must revoke permits for extell's upper west side skyscraper: advocates
Opponents brought their fight to the city's Board of Standards and Appeals.
August 7, 2019 Read more.
The Architect's Newspaper:
INVASION OF THE SUPERTALLS
A new breed of skyscraper threatens to devastate the fabric of New York
Imagine arriving at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park intending to lie on a blanket in the warm afternoon sun, as you have done many times before, only to find that there is no sunshine anymore. It has been blocked by a new tower just to the west more than twice the height of any building around it, including the 55-story Time Warner Center several blocks away. You look around and notice that more than half of the 15-acre lawn where you used to bask in sunlight is now in shadow. July 29, 2019
BRooklyn Botanic garden fight for sunlight
curbed: City Council resolution supports aggressive state bills to cap ceiling heights
City Council Members Ben Kallos and Keith Powers introduced a resolution backing the State legislation of Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Senator Robert Jackson!!!!! June 13, 2019 Read more.
city lab: How to Game the Zoning Codes to Build Supertall Skyscrapers
Manipulating the intricate zoning code of New York City has long been a badge of honor among a small cadre of developers. June 11, 2019 Read more.
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York fully endorses and supports this proposed legislation. This bill highlights the use by developers of “mechanical void spaces” in the construction of buildings in New York City. While the UFA has no position with regard to overall height regulations, we are extremely concerned about the safety issues to the public and Firefighters in connection with void spaces. Read more.
new york times: Developers Built a 30-Story High-Rise. They Might Have to Chop Off 5 floors.
June 5, 2019 Read more.
new york times: New York City’s Evolving Skyline
June 5, 2019 Read more.
curbed: Nearly half of Billionaires’ Row’s pricey condos remain unsold: report
The lights are rarely on in the sky-high condos of Billionaires’ Row, and that’s not only because their owners are seldom in town—it’s because many are lacking buyers entirely. A new estimate by real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller pegs upwards of 40 percent of Billionaires’ Row condos as unsold. April 30 2019 Read more.
new york times: Invasion of the ‘Supertalls’
An architect writes that the shadows they cast will disrupt the enjoyment of summer afternoons in Central Park. April 26 2019 Read more.
crains new york: Lawsuit tries to block construction of Extell's Upper West Side tower
"There is no mechanical equipment yet imagined by humans" that could fill the mechanical space in an Upper West Side apartment tower Extell started construction on this month. April 26 2019 Read more.
business insider: Manhattan's skyscrapers are in a vertical race that's transforming the city's skyline. Here are the 11 tallest buildings in NYC right now, ranked
New York City has long been known for its towering skyscrapers.
Both the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building held the title of world's tallest building at one point in time, but now they're not even among the top five tallest in the city. April 26 2019 Read more.
the real deal: Neighbors sue to block Extell’s UWS tower after city OKs amended plans
The back-and-forth over Extell Development’s 770-foot Upper West Side tower is now headed to court. April 25 2019 Read more.
Protect our right to light
Skyscrapers in cities rob people of sunlight and put human health, well-being and sustainability at risk, warn Karolina M. Zielinska-Dabkowska and Kyra Xavia.
April 23 2019 Read more.
New york times: How Luxury Developers Use a Loophole to Build Soaring Towers for the Ultrarich in N.Y.
About one-fourth of the 88 floors at 432 Park Avenue, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings, have no homes. Instead, they are reserved for structural and mechanical equipment.
April 20 2019 Read more.
Curbed: City overwhelmingly votes to close mechanical void loophole
Lawmakers and preservationists called the amendment “stunningly weakened”
The City Planning Commission approved a zoning amendment that cracks down on excessive mechanical voids after weeks of fierce back and forth from opponents and advocates.
April 10 2019 Read more.
gothamnist: City Greenlights Tallest UWS Tower After Developer Tweaks 'Void'
In a sharp turn of events, Billionaires' Row developer Extell has been granted permission to proceed with building an Upper West Side residential skyscraper that is set to include a controversial height-boosting feature known as a “mechanical void.”
April 10 2019 Read more.
crain's new york: This time, the NIMBYists are right: Close the mechanical-void loophole
The cries of outrage about real estate "bullies" wrecking New York City can get tiresome, especially when they come from folks living happily in homes built by the "bully" developers of yore. "The biggest threat to our city's democracy is the excessive power of the city's real estate lobby, a disturbingly oligarchical industry whose power has infected nearly every corner of civic life," declared a recent newsletter from Human-scale NYC, a group whose mission is to stop builders from destroying "what we love about our city." April 3 2019 Read more.
Conservancy Supports Zoning Amendment to Limit Voids
The Conservancy testified in support of a proposed zoning amendment that would limit excessively high mechanical rooms, or “voids,” used to boost building heights in residential buildings. But we told a City Planning Commission (CPC) hearing on March 13 that they needed to do more.
March 2019 Read more.
New York looks into voids used by builders to bend height rules
At the heart of many of New York’s tallest residential skyscrapers lie “mechanical voids.” They are growing in size and number and the city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio have had enough.
March 22, 2019 Read more.
our town ny: "Condo on stilts” paused
As the city prepares to tighten restrictions on developers’ use of mechanical voids — large, empty spaces within buildings that primarily serve to inflate the height, views and market value of the floors above — a planned Upper East Side tower frequently cited by critics as among the most egregious examples of the practice is in limbo as the Department of Buildings evaluates void-related objections concerning the project.
March 19, 2019 Read more.
am york: New rules proposed to curb abuse of 'mechanical voids' in high-rises
City planners have not managed to avoid critiques with their new approach to mechanical voids.
The Department of City Planning suggested new protocols for spaces set aside in residences for electrical, heating and cooling systems after community groups claimed developers were stretching buildings past standard heights by including unusually tall floors for mechanical equipment. March 14, 2019 Read more.
crain's new york: City won't close developers' favorite loophole, but state can
Developers haven’t met a loophole they don’t love to exploit. The one allowing mechanical voids has become the loophole of choice among New York’s luxury developer set, who see rooftop decks and dollar signs where others see clouds. At 50 W. 66th St., for example, Extell Development has proposed a 775-foot super tower with an astounding 150 feet of mechanical void space at the base.
March 14, 2019 Read more.
Save Central Park NYC testifies at DCP Public Hearing on Mechanical Voids Text Amendment
Video clip: https://streamable.com/a8val
March 13, 2019
gothamist: After Backlash From UES Residents & Officials, City Halts 'Building On Stilts' Over Fire Safety Concerns
A widely maligned plan for a 32-story residential tower on the Upper East Side that has been dubbed the “building on stilts” has been halted for fire safety concerns, offering a potential victory to community opponents who have fought the design.
March 7, 2019 Read more.
from assembly member richard gottfried:
"I am hosting a public access cable TV program on the topic of supertall buildings and the threat posed to many communities by overdevelopment as part of the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) series Represent NYC. My guests will be NYC Council Member Ben Kallos; Sean Khorsandi, Executive Director of Landmark Westand Mario Messina, President of the 29th Street Association. The program will air on MNN on air Sunday, March 10 at 7 p.m. and re-air on Wednesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. on MNN1 (Spectrum Cable Channels 34 & 1995), MNNHD (Spectrum Channel 1993), and on FIOS (Channel 33). "
the villager: City pulls permits on tricky tower-boost try
Last month, the Department of Buildings revoked permits for a condo tower that was set to soar on W. 66th St. But this wasn’t your typical tower.
February 20, 2019 Read more.
Gothamist: 'Monster' Crown Heights Development Reignites Fears Of Shadows Over Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A developer has unveiled plans to build two 39-story residential towers in Crown Heights, confirming fears of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and its advocates who have warned the city that tall developments in the increasingly gentrifying neighborhood will cast damaging shadows across a beloved green space. February 21, 2019 Read more.
The real deal: Number games: How developers inflate the height of their penthouses
February 19, 2019 Read more.
Community Board 5: addressing proposed Zoning Text Amendment to Regulate Voids
In a letter to Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission, Community Board 5 recommends denial UNLESS modifications are made to the proposed Zoning Text Amendment ZR 23-16. February 15, 2019 Read more.
Crains: State legislators want to supercede city's rules to chop luxe towers
State legislators are hoping to one-up the de Blasio administration and enact strict controls over mechanical voids—the cavernous hollow spaces in luxury apartment buildings that boost the altitude of the uppermost floors. February 15, 2019 Read more.
The guardian: Super-tall, super-skinny, super-expensive: the 'pencil towers' of New York's super-rich
It is rare in the history of architecture for a new type of building to emerge. The Romans’ discovery of concrete birthed the great domes and fortifications of its empire. The Victorians’ development of steel led to an era of majestic bridges and vaulted train sheds. The American invention of the elevator created the first skyscrapers in Chicago. Now, we are seeing a new type of structure that perfectly embodies the 21st-century age of technical ingenuity and extreme inequality. A heady confluence of engineering prowess, zoning loopholes and an unparalleled concentration of personal wealth have together spawned a new species of super-tall, super-skinny, super-expensive spire. February 5, 2019 Read more.
citylimits.org: Time to Avoid Some Voids? City Planning Thinks So.
After pushback from the Upper West Side community and elected officials, the City Planning Commission announced Monday it will be reviewing a text amendment to limit voids: non-residential spaces in residential buildings created to augment the height of a building. January 29, 2019 Read more.
newsweek: DEATH FROM ABOVE: LAWMAKER ENVISIONS BIRD-SAFE BUILDINGS IN NEW YORK CITY
Death litters the base of the sky-mirroring Time Warner Center. Dozens of badly damaged songbirds bash into its panes and disappear when they meet Charlie Alamo’s broom and dustbin. January 24, 2019 Read more.
architectural record: Opinion: Living Tall, Too Tall
Like such other world capitals as London or Shanghai, New York City has been witnessing a disturbing boom in supertall skyscrapers. These extremely tall residential and office towers have been made possible by new technical developments. For example, residential construction benefits from high early-stage strength of high-performance reinforced concrete and pumpability coupled with slip and climb formwork, which saves money by reducing the construction time considerably. Where taller buildings used to be confined to commercial and financial sectors of the city, a new generation of supertall luxury apartment buildings have begun to infiltrate low and mid-rise residential areas. Several such towers now line West 57th Street in Manhattan, giving spectacular views of Central Park from the top apartments. January 29, 2019 Read more.
Curbed New York: City aims to close zoning loophole that boosts building heights
Developers use the practice to "monetize the sky," says one City Planning Commissioner. January 28, 2019 Read more
Crain's new york: City drafts rules to close height-boosting loophole
The de Blasio administration has drafted rules to limit the size of hollow spaces in buildings, which developers have increasingly been using to boost the height of a project's uppermost apartments. The regulations are expected to be introduced to the public review process Monday, according to a letter sent from the Department of City Planning to elected officials. January 25, 2019 Read more.
Following a growing public uproar over developers exploiting loopholes to build "supertall" towers, the Department of City Planning on Friday proposed a zoning amendment that seeks to discourage them from using mechanical spaces, also known as “voids,” to add extra height to buildings. January 25, 2019 Read more.
Crain's New York: City rejects challenge to Extell's building on stilts
The city rejected a challenge to a planned Upper West Side apartment building that contains large empty spaces between several floors—a gambit meant to boost the overall height of the project and make the upper units more valuable. But Extell Development's planned tower at 50 W. 66th St. is not quite in the clear. November 30, 2018 Read more.
west side rag: Billionaire-Building Shadows Creep Across Central Park; ‘Olmsted and Vaux Would Not Be Happy’
The New York skyline has resumed its ascent in recent years, with several ultra-luxe residential buildings climbing into the sky. Activists have tried to get the city to slow this rise, in part because of the shadows that the new buildings cast. November 11, 2018 Read more.
curbed new york: Bill aims to curb supertall shadows in NYC parks
A new bill introduced in the City Council this week calls for establishing a task force to review any properties that have the potential to cast shadows across city parks. October 18, 2018 Read more.
AM New York: Save Central Park from tall building shadows, lawmaker says
With the city’s skyline growing taller by the year, a Manhattan lawmaker is reviving his efforts to get the city to study the impact of its shadows on city parkland. October 17, 2018 Read more.
upper west side patch: Zoning Challenge Filed Against Upper West Side's Tallest Tower
The city Department of Buildings has received a zoning challenge against the Upper West Side's tallest planned development, a department spokesperson confirmed with Patch. September 13, 2018 Read more.
real estate weekly: Neighbors challenge Extell’s newest Upper West Side skyscraper
Neighbors and an Upper West Side preservation group have filed a zoning challenge against Extell Development’s residential tower at 36 West 66th Street. The protesters claim that Extell is using zoning loopholes to get a taller development and better views for their future tenants. September 11, 2018 Read more.
crain's new york: East Side residents sue to stop condo tower
Sutton Place residents filed a lawsuit Sunday in a last-ditch attempt to stop a luxury condo tower from rising on East 58th Street.. August 27, 2018 Read more.
commercial observer: Goodlawyas: Three Lawyers Who Challenge New York’s Real Estate Empire
Jack Lester, Norman Siegel and Michael Hiller are three measured and affable attorneys who don’t gloat or threaten—they only make life a living hell for developers. July 31, 2018 Read more.
harper's magazine: The death of a once great city
New York has been my home for more than forty years, from the year after the city’s supposed nadir in 1975, when it nearly went bankrupt. I have seen all the periods of boom and bust since, almost all of them related to the “paper economy” of finance and real estate speculation that took over the city long before it did the rest of the nation. But I have never seen what is going on now: the systematic, wholesale transformation of New York into a reserve of the obscenely wealthy and the barely here—a place increasingly devoid of the idiosyncrasy, the complexity, the opportunity, and the roiling excitement that make a city great. July, 2018 Read more.
Preparations for construction have begun at 50 West 66th Street on a proposed 775-foot mixed-use building, which, if completed, would be the tallest on the Upper West Side. The Jewish Guild for the Blind, located on the site since 1971, has been demolished, and the foundation for the new building is being prepared. July 21, 2018 Read more.
manhattan times: Electeds, advocates seek to close zoning loopholes
Elected officials and advocacy groups gathered at City Hall on July 16 to demand that the city close existing loopholes that allow developers to circumvent zoning laws – and expressed concerns that such bad behavior could be repeated in neighborhoods across the city. July 18, 2018 Read more.
6SQFT: Construction begins on Extell’s 69-story tower, set to be tallest on the Upper West Side
With the neighboring Jewish Guild for the Blind officially demolished, construction has now begun on Extell Development’s skyscraper at 50 West 66th Street. Designed by Snøhetta, the mixed-use skyscraper is set to rise 775 feet, making it the tallest building on the Upper West Side. The 69-story tower will feature a facade of excavations, that are meant to evoke the “chiseled stone of Manhattan’s geologic legacy,” according to the architects. As CityRealty reported, the new tower will sit next to some of the borough’s most illustrious buildings, including 15 Central Park West and The Century. July 11, 2018 Read more.
The Municipal Art Society of New York: Update on 200 Amsterdam Avenue Injunction
The Municipal Art Society of New York and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development are pleased to announce our first victory in our legal challenge to the 200 Amsterdam Avenue development. May 14, 2018 Read more.
Crain's New York: High-end condos are eating up energy
The city's highest-end condominium towers have been blamed for casting shadows over Central Park, exacerbating the affordability crisis and helping foreigners hide dirty money. Now, add hastening climate change to the list. May 14, 2018 Read more.
The Real Deal: Meet the secretive Kazakh company backing the Upper West Side’s latest skyscraper
Party Girl once went by a different name. The 205-foot, eight-cabin yacht once belonged to Askar Alshinbayev, a Kazakh energy and banking tycoon who sold it in 2016. Alshinbayev, according to yacht enthusiast website SuperYachtFan, had given the vessel a less provocative moniker: Meridian. April 13, 2018 Read more.
New York Yimby: Demolition Begins For Final Piece Of Extell’s 775-Foot-Tall 50 West 66th Street On The Upper West Side
One of the more interesting new designs coming to Manhattan will be at 50 West 66th Street, where Extell will soon be adding yet another punctuation mark to the city’s skyline. The site is just six blocks away from Columbus Circle, and down the block from Central Park. The building was last on our radar in late 2017, with the news that the project would dramatically increase in size to become the tallest tower on the Upper West Side, taking away the title from 200 Amsterdam Avenue before it could even begin rising. Now, demolition has officially begun on the assemblage’s last structural occupant, while excavation continues apace across the land that has already been cleared. March 16, 2018 Read more.
Community Board 7: Amending the Zoning Regulations to address oversight of tall buildings
The phenomenon of supertall buildings has spread from the 57th Street corridor to the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Two supertall buildings -– at 200 Amsterdam Avenue and at 50 West 66th Street-- are in progress in the CB7 board district. These buildings, as designed, and similar buildings that have sprung up within the past several years or are now under construction, are jarringly out of context, block light and air, cast shadows (including into Central Park), consume energy out of proportion to any reasonable need of residents, and may create wind tunnel effects. Vote: 31 to 1 March 6, 2018 Read more.
West Side Rag: Community Board 7 Tackles ‘Out of Context’ Buildings and Other Issues
Community Board 7, which covers the Upper West Side, is joining the chorus of voices speaking out against a recent influx of tall buildings in the neighborhood. Members discussed the issue at a full-board meeting last week. March 10, 2018 Read more.
West Side Rag: Upper West Siders Prepare to Fight ‘Grotesque’ Luxury Towers By Learning the Tricks of the Trade
Upper West Side residents have been mobilizing to fight large apartment towers that have been sprouting up in the neighborhood, and last week they got an education in how developers are managing to build them. March 2, 2018 Read more.
Crain's New York: City wants to cut down supertalls
The de Blasio administration is taking aim at developers’ practice of stacking luxury condos atop multistory hollow spaces to achieve greater heights and more lucrative sales. February 7, 2018 Read more.
6Sqft: NYC has the world’s second highest concentration of tall towers
In 1962, nine of the world’s tallest buildings were south of 59th Street in Manhattan–and things hadn’t changed much by 1981 when five of the tallest towers were concentrated on the same tiny island, which, with Chicago’s three, gave the U.S. nine of the world’s top 10 tallest skyscrapers. If you added Toronto’s entry that made 10. Today, the only U.S. entry the top ten is lower Manhattan’s One World Trade Center. This same tiny island though, is still number two in the world when it comes to concentration of tall towers. February 1, 2018 Read more.
New York Times: Park or Playground? Semantics Dispute Illuminates Preservationists’ Fight
Whether an East Harlem ballpark will give way to what could be the tallest building between Midtown Manhattan and Boston may hinge upon the definition of a park versus a playground. January 1, 2018 Read more.
6Sqft: The Upper West Side’s next tall tower reveals its Art Deco design
Despite some initial construction hiccups, plans for the 668-foot residential tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue continue to move forward. According to YIMBY, the tower’s developers, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan, have unveiled new renderings of the Upper West Side building, including an up-close shot of its crown. Designed by Elkus Manfredi, the exteriors feature an aluminum curtainwall and metal panels. New York firm CetraRuddy will take on the interiors of the 112-unit condominium building.December 19, 2017 Read more.
CityRealty: Understanding the Power of Air Rights
Michelle Sinclair Coleman writes: Almost every Manhattanite has feared what would happen if a new construction blocked the sun or a view from a cherished window. And with rampant development taking place, this concern is more warranted than ever. How do developers seem to squeeze ever more building onto small lots? The key to understanding is simple: air rights. December 18, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: INTERVIEW: Zoning and land-use attorney Michael Hiller fights to uphold the Landmarks Law
Michael Hiller is a zoning and land-use attorney who has represented community groups in seemingly impossible quests for about 20 years. His high-profile cases have often been against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, notably Tribeca’s iconic Clock Tower Building and new construction along historic Gansevoort Street, both of which are pending appeal by the defendants. December 13, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: Extell’s proposal for the Upper West Side’s tallest tower faces backlash from the community
Architecture firm Snøhetta revealed last month their design for a 775-foot condominium tower at 50 West 66th Street, slated to be the tallest building on the Upper West Side. Developed by Extell, the condo will rise 69 stories and contain 127 units, featuring series of “sculptural excavations” that are “evocative of the chiseled stone of Manhattan’s geologic legacy,” according to the architects. As the New York Times reported, critics of the project from the UWS community say the tower would violate zoning restrictions in the area. Local advocate groups, joined by Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, are pushing back against the construction of Extell’s ultra-luxury tower. In a statement, Rosenthal said, “We will fight this project with every tool at our disposal.” December 11, 2017 Read more.
Curbed New York: Extell’s proposed Upper West Side tower incites zoning debate
Extell’s plan to bring a 775-foot condo tower to West 66th Street just off of Central Park has given rise to the Upper West Side’s latest development battle. Though the community and elected officials contend that the tower shirks zoning laws in the area, Extell continues to assert that their assemblage can in fact legally give way to the tower. December 11, 2017 Read more.
New York Times: Tower Planned for Upper West Side May Be Too Tall and Too Late
In a city seemingly exhausted by a long-running construction boom, the number of pitched battles over new developments appears to be growing. December 8, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: New renderings revealed for Extell’s Central Park Tower as it hits halfway mark
The 1,550-foot Central Park Tower, the soon-to-be tallest residential tower in New York City, has gotten some new renderings that reveal how it’ll appear lit up at night, as well as how its interiors may look (h/t YIMBY). Extell Development’s current plans for the Billionaires’ Row tower call for 179 condominiums, spanning on average 5,000 square feet, with open layouts and oversized windows overlooking Central Park. With the construction of the supertall at 217 West 57th Street now hitting its halfway mark and rising to roughly 700 feet, Central Park Tower is expected to be completed in 2019.December 7, 2017 Read more.
Politico: Chin, Brewer moving to slow development of residential towers on Lower East Side
Two Manhattan politicians are preparing a formal application that would block the development of a trio of residential towers on the Lower East Side now that a bill hastening the submission process has lapsed into law. December 5, 2017 Read more.
West Side Spirit: Proposed tower would be tallest on UWS
A newly released rendering (left) shows plans for a 775-foot tower on West 66th Street. Extell Development previously secured approvals for a more modest 25-story building at the site (right) before changing course, prompting Council Member Helen Rosenthal to call the move a “procedural bait-and-switch." December 5, 2017 Read more.
Crains New York: Race to build Upper West Side's tallest tower
0n Nov. 27 Extell Development Co., one of the city's more prolific developers, unveiled plans for what would be the tallest tower on the Upper West Side: a 775-foot residential spire on West 66th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. December 4, 2017 Read more.
Curbed New York: Upper East Siders challenge NYC’s latest ‘building on stilts’
Yet another planned New York City skyscraper is coming under increased scrutiny from local residents for using certain building tactics to bolster its height, Crain’s reports. This particular tower is slated to rise at 249 East 62nd Street, and it will stand 32-stories if the developer behind the project, Real Estate Inverlad, has its way. December 1, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: City Council approves East Harlem rezoning
The City Council on Thursday approved the rezoning of East Harlem, the third neighborhood to be rezoned under the mandatory inclusionary housing program. November 30, 2017 Read more.
City Council Member Helen Rosenthal accused Extell Development Company of pulling a “classic bait-and-switch” to triple the height of the building it is planning for 50 West 66th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. If the proposed building is constructed, it will be the newest tallest building on the Upper West Side, surpassing 200 Amsterdam Avenue by 107 feet. November 30, 2017 Read more.
Upper West Side Patch: UWS Will Fight New Tallest Development: City Councilmember
The Upper West Side's city council representative has vowed to fight a development that would become the neighborhood's tallest building. November 29, 2017 Read more.
Council Member Helen Rosenthal Releases Statement on 50 w. 66th Street Project; Proposed Development is Now Three Times the Height of Original Plan Submitted to the Department of Buildings
Council Member Helen Rosenthal is calling on developer Extell to halt its newly revealed plans to build a 775-foot, ultra-luxury tower at 50 West 66th Street. These new plans have come to light a year after foundation excavation permits were issued for a 25-story (250-foot) building on the site. The building’s new height is over three times what the developer reported to Council Member Rosenthal, community members, and the City’s Department of Buildings, in Spring 2016. November 29, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: Extell triples height of controversial UWS tower with $202M air rights deal
In June, City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, State Senator Brad Hoylman and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried issued a missive to Extell Development, declaring they knew something wasn’t right with the 25-story building the company had filed plans for at 36-40 West 66th Street. November 27, 2017 Read more.
Curbed: New Yorkers should have more say in ‘accidental skyline’ of NYC supertalls: report
There are more than two dozen supertall towers either completed or in the works in New York City right now, with more to come in the next few years—and that’s not taking into account all of the tall buildings that don’t quite meet the 984-foot threshold. October 17, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: MAS’ new ‘Accidental Skyline’ report offers 10-point plan to keep supertalls in check
6sqft has reported previously on the increasing alarm caused by New York City’s future skyline and its growing army of skyscrapers-to-be, with community groups expressing deep concern about the shadows cast across the city’s parks by the tall towers. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has been leading the pack when it comes to thorough analysis of the issue, which they see as having its roots not only in the sheer height of the new buildings but in a lack of regulation of how and where they rise in the larger context of the city. October 17, 2017 Read more.
MASNYC: Accidental Skyline
Since the release of its Accidental Skyline report in 2013, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has been raising the alarm about the need for new rules and regulations to protect public assets like light, air, open space, and the character of the City’s neighborhoods from supertall towers and out-of-scale development. Read more.
West Side Rag: Construction Begins on Controversial UWS Tower at 69th Street as Opponents Consider New Tactics
Developers of a 668-foot tall apartment tower on 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue that was delayed by a zoning challenge have begun construction after receiving permits from the Department of Buildings. Permits were granted on September 27, the day after the department lifted a hold on the project following a zoning challenge filed by neighborhood groups. October 12, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: MAP: Find the colorful fall foliage of Central Park’s 20,000 trees
Central Park’s most dazzling and vibrant season has arrived. With over 20,000 trees and 150 species of trees spread across 843-acres, Central Park in autumn remains a cannot-miss spectacle for New Yorkers. Thankfully, the Central Park Conservancy created a fall foliage map making it easy to find the leaves with the brightest shades of gold, yellow, red and orange this season. October 5, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: UWS Hong Kong private equity firm buys into Extell’s Lincoln Square project
Extell Development and Megalith Capital brought in Hong Kong-based private equity firm Meridian Capital Limited as a partner at their Lincoln Square condo project 36-44 West 66th Street. September 28, 2017 Read more.
West Side Rag: Proposed 668-Foot Tower Gets a Green Light
The city Department of Buildings lifted a hold on a controversial tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street, making it more likely the project will move ahead. If building permits are granted, it will be the tallest building on the Upper West Side. September 27, 2017 Read more.
Curbed: Upper West Side's forthcoming tallest tower can move forward
The Department of Buildings has given developers the green light to proceed with construction at 200 Amsterdam Avenue, where the Upper West Side’s tallest tower is taking shape. September 27, 2017 Read more.
DNA Info: Construction On Upper West Side's Tallest Building Can Proceed, City Says
Plans for a 668-foot-tall luxury development at 200 Amsterdam Ave. can now move forward as the Department of Buildings lifted its stop-work order on the project on Tuesday. September 27, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: City approves the Upper West Side’s tallest building, a 668-foot tower in Lincoln Square
The Department of Buildings gave developers on Tuesday the go-ahead to construct a 668-foot residential tower on the Upper West Side. In a partnership between SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, the project at 200 Amsterdam Avenue will be the neighborhood’s tallest tower, surpassing the current title-holder, Trump International, by more than 80 feet. September 27, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: New rendering of Extell’s Central Park Tower shows sparkling all-glass facade
A new rendering of Central Park Tower, slated to be the tallest residential tower on Earth, shows the most sparkling image of the residential building yet. Construction for Extell Development’s supertall, located at 225 West 57th Street on Billionaires’ Row, is underway and when completed, the tower is projected to be 1,550-feet tall. As CityRealty reported, the all-glass rendering appears to be taken about 900-feet above Central Park and leaves out rivaling towers, 432 Park Avenue and 111 West 57th Street. The $2.98 billion project is expected to be completed in 2019. August 15, 2017 Read more.
Crain's New York: De Blasio scores win with East Harlem tower approval
A City Council committee green-lights the type of apartment tower that development opponents have blocked elsewhere in the city. August 10, 2017 Read more.
West Side Rag: Council Candidates Pledge to Stand Up to Developers: 'No New Shadows on Public Parkland'
On Monday night, the five candidates for City Council from District 6 participated in a public forum at Fordham University to discuss the most pressing issues facing the Upper West Side, among them: affordable housing; empty storefronts; over-development and super-tall buildings; the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History; safeguarding seniors; and school overcrowding and segregation. August 2, 2017 Read more.
New York Times: Catholic Church May Cash In on Air Rights in Midtown Rezoning Deal
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York may know something about divine intervention. But to get to Mayor Bill de Blasio on a real estate negotiation potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, it hired lobbyists. July 27, 2017 Read more.
Daily News: De Blasio’s huge Midtown giveaway
A century ago, New York City enacted the first zoning resolution to control the size and density of development. Today, the de Blasio administration is poised to toss aside our zoning rules to foster construction of massive new towers in East Midtown, particularly around Grand Central Terminal. July 24, 2017 Read more.
Chicago Tribune: First for Chicago's skyline: Open floor to cope with wind, keep residents from getting queasy
The engineers for Chicago's future third-tallest skyscraper had issued a warning: Wind tunnel tests showed that the plan for the building, three thin, interconnected high-rises designed by star architect Jeanne Gang, had a flaw: High winds would push it around, making people inside feel like they were on a storm-tossed ship. July 24, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: New City Council bill would create a comprehensive urban agriculture plan for New York
A new bill introduced in New York City Council Thursday addresses the need for an urban agriculture plan that doesn’t fall through the cracks of the city’s zoning and building regulations, the Wall Street Journal reports. July 21, 2017 Read more.
New Republic: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
How to use Trump Tower and other luxury high-rises to clean dirty money, run an international crime syndicate, and propel a failed real estate developer into the White House. July 13, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: Ramp falls 16 stories from Extell’s Central Park Tower construction site
Officials closed down a block of West 58th Street on Wednesday after a ramp fell from Extell Development’s Central Park Tower’s TRData LogoTINY construction site. July 12, 2017 Read more.
NY Daily News: East Side residents clash with developer in zoning war over project to build 78-story luxury tower
Over in the lofty environs of that exclusive upscale Manhattan neighborhood known as Sutton Place, the race is on. July 11, 2017 Read more.
Curbed: Could height limits on NYC skyscrapers be in the city’s future?
When you think of the New York City skyline, it’s likely that the city’s iconic Midtown skyscrapers—the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and their ilk—come to mind, along with some of the new-guard towers like 432 Park Avenue and One57. But it’s the latter that have, in recent years, ticked off preservation-minded New Yorkers. July 5, 2017 Read more.
The Wall Street Journal: New Midtown Skyscrapers Draw Ire of Preservationists
Extell Development Co. spent 15 years assembling a development site on West 57th Street. But when construction began in 2010 on a 1,005 foot tall condominium tower, now known as One57, preservationists were caught by surprise. July 5, 2017 Read more.
New York Times: A Holdout Delays a Developer’s Latest High-Rise Dream
First came the scaffolding, another latticelike structure blocking a sidewalk in front of a Manhattan building. And just in case the tenants in five buildings near 57th Street and Fifth Avenue did not get the message, demolition work started on a sixth, adjoining building. July 4, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: Drone footage takes this love letter to New York City to a new level
From the concrete canyons of Midtown to verdant outcroppings deep in Central Park and everything in between, NYC unfolds in a suitably epic series of moments in this live-action love letter created by Wasatch aerial drone photography specialists. A drone camera sails above it all on metal wings, capturing the city, its architecture and its creatures large and small at rest, work and play. July 2, 2017 Read more.
West Side Rag: Controversial Amsterdam Avenue Tower ‘On Hold’ After Another Department Of Buildings Ruling
The super-tall building planned for 200 Amsterdam Avenue is officially “on hold,” according to the NYC Department of Buildings website. On Friday, June 23rd, the words “Audit: Notice to Revoke” also appeared on the site, referring to the zoning permit that would allow the building to rise 668’, making it the tallest building north of midtown and on the Upper West Side. June 28, 2017 Read more.
Landmark West!: 200 Amsterdam — PROGRESS!
The Department of Buildings has posted on its website a “Notice to Revoke” permits for the 668′ tower at 200 Amsterdam! June 27, 2017 Read more.
Landmark West!: Voters Against Supertalls
New Yorkers from neighborhoods across the city came together on Thursday, June 22, 2017, for a Save New York Summit to discuss City policies that have enabled and incentivized the trend of supertall development, now threatening traditional residential neighborhoods like the Upper West Side. June 23, 2017 Read more.
Los Angeles Times: How New York's rising trend of 'supertall' towers looks from the 92nd floor
Sometimes a view is just a view. And sometimes — when you’re standing on the 92nd floor of a controversial New York skyscraper with Rafael Viñoly — it’s a window onto the architectural arms race that is rapidly reshaping the Manhattan skyline. June 15, 2017 Read more.
West Side Rag: Plans for Upper West Side's Tallest Building on Hold as City Reviews Challenge by Neighbors
There will be no further permits issued for the controversial building being planned for 200 Amsterdam Avenue until the legal challenge to its zoning lot is resolved. What would be the tallest building on the Upper West Side — an expected 668 feet — is now on hold. June 10, 2017 Read more.
DNA Info: Sutton Place Plan to Cap Building Heights Gives City Planners Pause
Locals' bid for a zoning change to block super-tall skyscrapers in Sutton Place is undergoing formal public review after a year-and-a-half of planning — but city officials are concerned it could discourage affordable housing in the area. June 7, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: Extell in contract on key piece of $100M Upper West Side assemblage
On May 13, 2017, nearly 50 attendees joined FRIENDS as we hosted a community workshop supported, in part, by the National TrusGary Barnett is buying another Gristedes site, and this one also won’t likely stay standing for long. May 31, 2017 Read more.
MAS NYC: Important Win for Transparency in Zoning Variances
Yesterday afternoon, MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein joined City Council Members Ben Kallos and Donovan Richards, and Council colleagues as Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a series of reforms to the Board of Standards and Appeals zoning variance process. May 31, 2017 Read more.
Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts: Mystified by Megatowers? Here's what you need to know...
On May 13, 2017, nearly 50 attendees joined FRIENDS as we hosted a community workshop supported, in part, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The workshop covered the basics of zoning and preservation in New York City, with a focus on the Upper East Side, as well as our recommendations for zoning changes. May 22, 2017 Read more.
The New York Times: A Tiny Park Fights for Sunlight Among New York City Skyscrapers
New Yorkers have to elbow their way onto packed subways below ground. They have to eke out room on teeming sidewalks and streets just to get anywhere. And in a city where no space can be taken for granted, increasingly they have to fight for the very light and air above their heads. May 22, 2017 Read more.
Central Park Conservancy: How Central Park Keeps New York City Healthy
We know parks make us healthier and happier, but how does Central Park contribute to the wellbeing of New York City’s people, plants, and wildlife? April 25, 2017 Read more.
Boston Globe: Moving Winthrop Square proposal out of the shadows
WHEN A NEW building emerges from the regulatory dance that weighs economic growth against loss of open space or increased density, the physical landscape of our city changes forever. Amid pressures facing each generation to grow our tax base and our constricted housing stock, the protection of open space for future residents rests on government’s willingness to take stewardship of public lands seriously and to consider more than short-term financial gain. April 24, 2017 Read more.
CBS: Mike Bloomberg, Carl Pope say jobs come from clean energy, not coal
A new CBS News poll shows a majority of Americans have a pessimistic view about prospects for the environment, with 57 percent believing it will be worse for the next generation. Only 12 percent believe the environment will be better than it is today. April 24, 2017 Read more.
Crain's New York: Rare tower set to rise on Upper West Side
City zoning restrictions make it extremely difficult to build high-rise apartment towers on the Upper West Side. But with some land-use acrobatics, it can be done. April 11, 2017 Read more.
The Alliance for a Human-scale City: Action Alert on 421 Tax Breaks
Are you sick and tired of Big Real Estate getting huge tax breaks at the expense of the public? Here’s something quick and easy you can do about it. April 7, 2017 Read more.
The Real Deal: The sit-down: Extell’s Gary Barnett on One Manhattan Square, financing megaprojects and “pedestrian” BK towers
Imagine scoring more than $1 billion in financing but still being miles from the finish line. That’s where Gary Barnett finds himself today, but the chief of Extell Development TRData LogoTINY has fought this fight before and prevailed. March 24, 2017 Read more.
Architectural Digest: This Skyscraper Could Ruin New York's Skyline
The tallest building in the world? Been there, done that. But what about constructing the longest building? That's a feat one architectural firm hopes to achieve via the "Big Bend," a new kind of skyscraper that shatters the mold of buildings past by opting to bend a structure into a U shape. March 24, 2017 Read more.
Manhattan Express: Midtown Rezoning Wins Borough Nod –– Except from Community Boards
A majority of the Manhattan Borough Board – composed of the borough president, its city councilmembers, and community board chairs – approved the Department of City Planning’s Midtown East rezoning plan on March 16, but noted the action comes while the plan is still in the middle of an evolving review process. March 17, 2017 Read more.
The New York Times: In Chicago and Philadelphia, the Difference a Park Makes
Despite the bitter wind, Kim Wasserman showed me around La Villita Park. Occupying 21 acres in the middle of this city’s largest Mexican-American neighborhood, called Little Village, the park used to be a brownfield and illegal dump. March 12, 2017 Read more.
6Sqft: Extell reveals renderings of new Central Park West condo tower
Though Extell is best known for sky-high mega-developments like One57, the Central Park Tower, and One Manhattan Square, they’ve also been taking on some slightly smaller residential projects, gobbling up swaths of real estate in the upper Midtown area. Their latest venture is a partnership with Megalith Capital Management to build a new condo tower near Central Park West. Feb. 1, 2017 Read more.
The New York Times: Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block
TYou’re looking at a map of all of the shadows produced by thousands of buildings in New York City over the course of one day. This inverted view tells the story of the city’s skyline at the ground level.December 21, 2016 Read more.
Business Insider: A 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco is tilting and sinking — and residents say their multimillion-dollar condos are 'nearly worthless'
Millennium Tower is a luxury residential high-rise that has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches since it was completed in 2008. Though an inspection by the city showed it's safe to occupy, the situation has sparked an exodus from the building. Residents say they're selling multimillion-dollar condos at a loss, with the value of their homes tumbling $320,000 on average. September 8, 2016 Read more.
Gothamist: Behold Central Park's Dark & Shadowy Future
Today's heat wave conditions might have you seeking shade, but gather ye UV rays while ye may because soon our city will be a shadowy thicket of sad beneath a forest of super-tall luxury condos. Specifically, the southern edge of Central Park will be heavily shadowed throughout much of the day by a pack of under-construction skyscrapers coming to midtown. July 27, 2016 Read more.
Corporate Compliance Insights: Money Laundering Schemes In Real Estate
Real estate is an established method of money laundering internationally; the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recognized that the real estate sector is a high-risk sector for money laundering, and it frequently attracts criminals who want to launder their dirty money. So why it is easier to launder money through real estate than the banks? Feb. 17, 2016 Read more.
New York Times: Make Them Pay for Park Views
NEW YORKERS, and particularly Manhattanites, are wringing their hands about the two dozen or so supertall luxury towers sprouting along the southern edge of Central Park. The builders are charging up to $100 million for apartments that offer helicopter views of lush foliage, jagged skylines, soothing rivers and angelic clouds. They lure the superrich, many with suspect foreign assets, to sky-high mansions. They enrich themselves by exploiting weak zoning rules to pour hideous implants into Manhattan cavities. December 30, 2015 Read more.
The New York Times: As a New High Society Climbs in Manhattan, It’s a Race to the Top
The New York City skyline is growing at a pace not seen since the postwar boom. As recently as 2013, only five towers in New York City topped 1,000 feet. Now, there are that many “supertall” towers in the works on 57th Street alone, and roughly two dozen either under construction or on the drawing boards across Manhattan. Dec. 21, 2015 Read more.
CBS New York: City Council Considers Task Force To Study Impact Of Megatowers Casting Shadows On Central Park
The New York City Council is considering creating a task force to address the impacts of shadows from megatowers over Central Park. November 12, 2015 Read more.
Dezeen: Wave of super-tall towers in Manhattan sparks protests over shadows
New Yorkers are speaking out against a rash of super-tall skinny skyscrapers by architects including SHoP and Robert AM Stern, which they say will overshadow Central Park. November 11, 2015 Read more.
Crain's: City defends supertall towers near Central Park
Though it shares concerns about shadows, the Department of City Planning says slender new skyscrapers preserve older buildings and enhance the skyline. Aug. 19, 2015 Read more.
Crain's: Key City Council members want to curb super-tall buildings south of Central Park
Lawmakers call for more regulation and a close look at height limits in a big portion of midtown Manhattan. July 28, 2015 Read more.
The Guardian: New York's skyline: soon the super-rich will literally cast a shadow over ordinary New Yorkers
In contrast to the 13-year controversy that surrounded the construction of the new World Trade Center – the tallest building in New York, the United States and indeed the western hemisphere – another skyscraper nearly as high has lately sprung up almost unnoticed. May 12, 2015 Read more.
The Washington Post: In The Shadows Of Booming Cities, A Tension Between Sunlight And Prosperity
Emily Badger looks at the shadow impact in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington D.C May 4, 2015 Read more.
New York Post: Save Central Park From The Attack Of The Monster Buildings
New, super tall towers along West 57th Street and Central Park South are casting the park below 72nd Street into deeper shadow. If you don’t like this, who do you blame? May 3, 2015 Read more.
Curbed: New Yorkers Slam Central Park's Shadow-Casting Megatowers
About a year after a crowded, heated meeting on the same topic, the public has spoken once again on the subject of the many tall towers destined to loom large over Central Park. April 29, 2015 Read more.
Politico: Council to take up park shadows
The shadows cast on parks by tall buildings are about to come under City Council scrutiny. March 31, 2015 Read more.
6sqft: City Council Task Force Will Look at Park Shadows Cast by Supertall Towers
It comes up every time a rendering is released for the latest supertall tower –how will the massive structure impede the views of its neighbors and what kind of obstructive shadows will it cast below? March 31, 2015 Read more.
Strong Towns: More On Height Limits
It’s always interesting what generates conversation. I’ve been having this height limitation discussion with many people in many different cities, pointing out as we do a sidewalk lecture how the six story building they call growth is simply ensuring that the neighboring one story shack surrounded by asphalt never amounts to anything more. November 4, 2014 Read more.
CUNY Television: This Edition: Shadows on Central Park and 50 Years Of Court Art
A lack of height limits has allowed developers to build thin buildings competing for the top of the skyline, rankling some who say shadows infringe on the park. Is it worth some passing shade for an ever-changing city? May 12, 2014 Read more.
NPR: New Yorkers Protest Long Shadows Cast By New Skyscrapers
Skyscrapers are a hallmark of large cities. Modern engineering makes it possible to erect something as tall as the Empire State Building on a very small footprint. April 23, 2014 Read more.
Vanity Fair: Too Rich, Too Thin, Too Tall?
Ever taller, ever thinner, the new condo towers racing skyward in Midtown Manhattan are breaking records for everything, including price. Sold for $95 million, the 96th floor of 432 Park Avenue will be the highest residence in the Western world. As shadows creep across Central Park, Paul Goldberger looks at the construction, architecture, and marketing of these super-luxury aeries, gauging their effect on the city’s future. April 9, 2014 Read more.
The New York Times: A Packed Forum for a Rising Concern: New Skyscrapers Near Central Park
With over 425 people crowding into the New York Public Library on 42nd Street, it was clear that the local community board had touched a nerve as the host of a forum called “Central Park Supertowers.” At least a half-dozen elected officials also showed up. It was an unusually large showing for a community board event.Feb. 20, 2014 Read more.
Curbed: Hundreds Fret About Superscrapers' Shadows As Extell Rebuts
The shadows that the so-called many "Central Park supertowers"-to-be will cast onto the city's venerated green lung have stirred up a debate about height limits for buildings. It's a heated topic, so naturally hundreds of people packed a hall at the 42nd Street library last night to hear arguments about what to make of the shadowsand what to do in light of them. February 20, 2014 Read more.
Politico: Opposition to park-shadow towers gets louder
It was thirty-seven minutes into a widely publicized, heavily attended forum on “supertowers” and the shadows they cast on Central Park that the antagonist of the hour got his say. Feb. 20, 2014 Read more.
The New York Times: Seeing a Need for Oversight of New York’s Lordly Towers
Michael Kimmelman urges public oversight of new ultra-tall towers. Dec. 22, 2013 Read more.
Gizmodo: Do We Have a Legal Right to Light?
With supertall towers popping up along Central Park's southern edge like wildly expensive luxury mushrooms, Manhattan's largest park is about to be cast into shadow—some as long as half a mile. The real estate boom is stirring up a debate: Do we have a "right to light"? Oct. 31, 2013 Read more.
The New York Times: Shadows Over Central Park
Warren St. John’s opinion on “Shadows Over Central Park.” Oct. 28, 2013 Read more.
MASNYC: Accidental Skyline
Too often, New Yorkers are caught off guard by new development in their neighborhoods. The Accidental Skyline offers tools to help demystify the city planning process and bring the public into the conversation. Read more.
E Magazine: Parks as Lungs America’s Urban Forests Make Environmental and Economic Sense
Frederick Law Olmsted, the granddaddy of American landscape architecture, had little idea how prescient he was when he told the City of New York in 1872 that the midtown Manhattan park he was busy creating would serve as the “lungs of the city.” December, 2001 Read more.
The New York Times: Hundreds Rally Against Towers At Coliseum Site
More than 800 people formed a line through Central Park yesterday, opening black umbrellas on cue in a symbolic protest of the shadows that would be cast at certain times in the winter by the huge office towers planned on Columbus Circle. Oct. 19, 1987 Read more.
The New York Times: Developer Says He Will Reduce 59th St. Project
Plans for office towers on the western arc of Columbus Circle seemed certain to be scaled back yesterday as the developer, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, said he would reduce the bulk of the buildings to resolve lawsuits against the project. Oct. 14, 1987 Read more.