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Regulations on 'Mechanical Voids' in Luxury Residential Towers Coming Soon to NYC

The city is responding to controversies surrounding building practices that boost heights of luxury residential towers, while leaving big sections of the buildings empty.
January 24, 2019, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Felix Lipov

"The de Blasio administration is accelerating plans to tighten a loophole that allows developers to boost the height of luxury apartment buildings," reports Joe Anuta.

"Zoning rules currently allow developers to build mechanical floors with extraordinarily high ceilings, which boosts the height of a building without changing the number of apartments contained within," explains Anuta of the construction techniques that enables the controversial building targeted by the de Blasio administration. "Stacking units on top of a hollow pedestal gives the apartments better views and makes them more expensive."

Anuta raised awareness of the so-called "mechanical voids" and "stilts" at the center of such buildings came in an article from June 2018. "The city initially had said it would regulate mechanical voids by the end of 2018. However, at the behest of City Council officials, the Department of City Planning said last month that it was expanding the scope of the changes to cover more areas of Manhattan, and the more comprehensive set of rules would be ready by the spring," according to Anuta. Now the process of regulating these buildings is expected to change further, as reported in the source article.

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Published on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 in Crain's New York Business
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