Residential developers get wise to observation decks

Rockefeller Center's observation deck
Rockefeller Center's observation deck

WEEKENDEDITION Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building may soon lose their monopoly on the best views of New York City. With so many new residential skyscrapers rising across Manhattan, landlords are becoming savvy to the value of observation decks.

“If you have a very tall building with great views, it’s a business that you’re starting to think about,” Annu Chopra, a principal at Atalanta Advisors, told Crain’s. Chopra has consulted developers and even helped arrange financing for several observation-deck deals, including the deck at John Hancock Tower in Chicago by Montparnasse 56. “A lot more landlords are going to start fighting for that tourism dollar,” Chopra added.

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Related is getting in on the action with an observation deck set to open atop an office tower in its Hudson Yards project at the corner of West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue in Hudson Yards. And SL Green is considering adding a viewing deck to the top of a new office tower it hopes to erect across from Grand Central Station. Even Gary Barnett has said that he may add an observation area to the top of his new project on the corner of West 57th Street near Broadway.

“In the history of tall buildings around the world, there’s always been a human desire to get up at the top of them,” Jay Cross, president of Related’s Hudson Yards development, told Crain’s,. “You want to max that experience for them, and what’s unique here is that we’re part of an evolving world of observation decks where there’s a thrill aspect to it.” [Crain’s]Christopher Cameron