Cantilevers all the rage in booming luxury market

TRD New York /
Jan.January 10, 2014 03:20 PM

As luxury residential properties in New York City grow ever bigger and flashier, cantilevers are boldly following suit.

Driven by a demand for developments that are ever “bigger and better,” as the mantra goes, increasingly audacious cantilevers are possible thanks to changes in technology such as structural steel and reinforced concrete that render a load-bearing wall, once an architectural necessity, nearly obsolete. Air rights transfers have also served them well, enabling cantilevers to stretch higher and farther as long as they adhere to density quotas and stay far enough away from neighboring roofs.

“In New York, development is a three-dimensional chess game,” Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects, told the New York Times, “and the reason we’re seeing an increase in the use of cantilevers above neighboring buildings is linked to the complexity of finding a site that can utilize all available development rights.”

The Isis, Alchemy Properties’ condominium development at 303 East 77th Street, incorporates two eight-foot cantilevers, and FXFOWLE used two at the new 35XV condo project, also an Alchemy development at 35 West 15th Street. And Gary Barnett’s Extell Development was cleared to cantilever its 1,550-foot Nordstrom tower at 225 West 57th Street in October — for which it spent $23 million on air rights and an additional $30 million to add the cantilever.

“In our case,” Barnett told the Times, “the constraint was that we needed to accommodate Nordstrom, which is used to a wide-open, suburban-style layout. It wasn’t critical to cantilever for the residential portion of the project, but we needed to give Nordstrom the largest possible floor plate.” [NYT]Julie Strickland

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