The Real Deal New York

Air rights transfers should undergo public review: OPINION

"One57 is Exhibit A in what we should be able to prevent."
December 23, 2013 11:31AM

City agencies and community groups should have a greater say in air rights transfers, and the city should place a cap on the amount of air rights that can be bought without a public review, according to the architecture critic for the New York Times.

“Developers will raise hell, but the move would not stop sky-high buildings from going up,” critic Michael Kimmelman wrote in an opinion piece published in the newspaper. “Buildings striving for such height would just need to make a case for themselves aesthetically and otherwise.”

Currently, air rights acquisitions that are carried out through a zoning lot merger are not subject to public scrutiny. Kimmelman singled out Extell Development’s One57 as “Exhibit A in what we should be able to prevent.”

Kimmelman also calls for a requirement that developers “give something back” in exchange for permission to buy these air rights, such as affordable housing and contributions to transit improvements. The changes would help preserve the New York skyline and ensure that New Yorkers benefit from these projects, he added. [NYT]  – Hiten Samtani

  • I-Rock

    the problem with restricting TDR’s is that is discourages new development which only increases NYC’s housing shortage. Not all receiving sites are obnoxious Extell condo jobs for the .01%.

  • Niv21

    What the heck is wrong with One57?? I think it’s a gem in NYC skyline. For some reason the only people with a platform to spiel their hate are these so called “architecture snobs” What do they want?? The whole city to be littered with Robert A.M Stern style towers???

    • Helaine

      Wait till you see Stern’s 220cps

      • Niv21

        Yea I can’t wait.. Don’t forget Stern is designing another project right across the park at 45 E 60th street that is slated to rise very soon.
        I have no problems with Stern, but if we get all projects approved because they will look like Sterns designs, then his design would not be special anymore and everything will look the same like the city does now.

        These Arch critics who all went to Yale and Harvard would only want safe conservative designs only. You know the types who think Classical music is the ONLY music.

  • Concerned broker

    I agree with Michael Kimmelman. One57 has been a disaster. The glass building is very unattractive and over priced. Buyer beware. We are Americans or at least I want to believe we are Americans not just calling ourselves Americans. What some of us do as citizens of this once great nation reflects on the entire nation. The rest of the world right now thinks we have gone crazy with no regard for what is right and best for the entire community just so long as that particular party can fill their pockets while harming the rest of the community. What has become of being responsible business people. What has happened to fairness and morality and doing what is best for the entire community? What happened to integrity and responsibility? One57 is a complete eyesore just waiting for another crane to fall out the sky. Wonder if the windows will be falling next?

    • Niv21

      Excuse me?? I think all countries are guilty what you accuse america of being. Step down your high horse a bit.

    • Shoulder Shrugger

      Why is doing what is best for the community over what is best for oneself a moral and fair?

      Sacrifice of oneself for others is not moral, it is a lack of respect for one’s own worth and ability.

      Lining your pockets is the result of ingenuity, ability and production.

      You are a leech on those of us who produce.

  • Concerned broker

    I agree with Kimmelman that there should be some givebacks for the higher buildings and to be able to buy air-rights. And now that the one per centers are almost bought up on their purchases where is the money coming from to buy more overpriced real estate? and who is going to take out the garbage since even the garbage people are being priced out of their homes and moving to PA and NJ? Soon we are going to have to cart out garbage to the landfill ourselves because we are not able to hire anyone to do the menial jobs.