Chelsea residents paid Gary Barnett $11M to protect their views from a planned tower

Barnett had planned to build a 145-foot tower at Seventh Avenue and 17th Street

Extell Development's Gary Barnett (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
Extell Development's Gary Barnett (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Residents of a 12-story building in Chelsea were willing to spend $11 million just to protect their views.

The residents banded together in 2016 upon learning that developer Gary Barnett was planning to build a condo at Seventh Avenue and 17th Street standing 145 feet tall, according to the New York Times. Within a week, a group of residents at the nearby building sat down with him and offered to buy the air rights to stop him from building.

Barnett at first wanted much more than $11 million, but the two sides were eventually able to agree to make that figure work. After a few months of negotiations, residents unanimously voted to move forward with the deal, which had not been publicized until now.

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A similar deal took place on East 67th Street, where residents of a nearby six-story building paid the Zen Studies Society $3.25 million for its air rights, guaranteeing that their views would not be blocked moving forward. But developers agreed that, overall, it was a very unusual maneuver.

“It’s not common,” Barnett told the Times. “Most of the time, they sue you and try and stop you somehow. These people stepped up to the plate and paid market value for the building rights.” [NYT]  — Eddie Small

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