New Supertalls Take a look at the Limits, because the Metropolis Consults an Growing older Playbook

New Supertalls Test the Limits, as the City Consults an Aging Playbook

Andrew Rudansky, a building authority spokesman, said the city's building and fire resistance standards are stricter than national standards. "New York City has some of the strictest, safest building codes in the world, and they are updated regularly to keep pace with changes in the industry," he said, citing several changes announced in April.

Learn more about New York City skyscrapers

    • The downside of living in a super tall tower: 432 Park, one of the wealthiest addresses in the world, is facing some significant design issues, and New York City's other luxury skyscrapers could share the same fate.
    • How luxury developers use a loophole: These towering towers may soar high into the sky due to a loophole in the city's labyrinthine zoning laws. This may be one reason why Supertall buildings face a number of problems.
    • The evolving skyline of New York City: The current high-rise boom with more than 20 buildings that have been built or planned to be over 300 meters high since 2007 has changed the city's skyline in recent years. Its effects will reverberate for years to come.
    • The hidden exploits that built towering skyscrapers: Our reviewer considers some super-sized N.Y.C. Buildings and how the ingenuity of engineers helped create landmarks like Black Rock.

Still, a lack of transparency in the city's building system could mask early signs of bigger problems, especially for this class of once-impossible supertalls that have only recently entered the city. The department's digital filing system, which is sometimes decades old, can appear like a labyrinth even to experienced specialists, making it difficult to understand why some tasks remain incomplete. In recent years the city has introduced a new system, DOB Now, but many details on eligibility issues are not readily available to the public.

An earlier New York Times investigation at 432 Park Avenue, a nearly 1,400 foot high condominium tower with more than 30 incomplete oversight duties required by the Department of Construction, found multi-million dollar floods caused by plumbing failures, broken elevators, and claims of one Engineers have been caused by "real life safety problems" which generally refer to issues with sprinklers, gates, or other fire-related issues that can be life threatening in certain circumstances.

New York has become a magnet for these super tall towers because a mix of speculative investment and a land use system has resulted in ever narrower buildings reaching new heights.

For example, the Steinway Tower, a new 1,428-foot luxury apartment on Billionaires ’Row, is 24 times taller than it is wide, making it one of the thinnest buildings in the world – or about eight times thinner than the Empire State Building.

"With these Supertalls there are technical differences that go beyond additional feet," says Roberta Brandes Gratz, author and board member of the Center for the Living City, an urban development authority. "The system was already too revealing, but the engineering and structural challenges are even more serious today."

To expedite development, the city has for decades allowed developers to close units and begin moving in, with a TCO, a provisional, usually 90-day pass that says at least part of the building is safe to live in, but that there are still outstanding requirements.


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