New Supertalls test the limits, as town consults playbook on aging


Andrew Rudansky, spokesperson for the buildings department, said the city’s building and fire resistance standards are stricter than national standards. “New York City has some of the strictest and safest building code requirements in the world, and they are regularly updated to keep pace with changes in the industry,” he said, citing several changes announced in April.

Still, a lack of transparency in the city’s building system could mask the first signs of bigger problems, especially for this once-impossible class of supertalls that have only recently taken root in the city. The department’s digital filing system, parts of which are decades old, can seem labyrinthine even to seasoned professionals, 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 related to certificate of occupancy issues are not readily available to the public.

An earlier New York Times investigation of 432 Park Avenue, a nearly 1,400-foot condo tower with more than 30 incomplete surveillance tasks required by the Buildings Department, found multi-million dollar flooding caused by plumbing faults, faulty elevators and a company’s claims of ‘real life safety issues’, which usually refer to problems with sprinklers, venting, or other fire-related issues that can be life threatening under certain circumstances.

New York has become a magnet for these tall towers due to a mixture of speculative investment and a land use system that has encouraged increasingly narrow buildings to reach new heights.

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

“There are technical differences in these supertalls that go beyond just a matter of extra feet,” said Roberta Brandes Gratz, author and board member of the Center for the Living City, an oversight body. of urban development. “The system was already too permissive, but the challenges today, in terms of engineering and construction, are even more serious. “

For decades, in order to accelerate development, the city has allowed developers to shut down units and start moving in with a TCO, a temporary pass, typically 90 days, which indicates that at least part of the building is safe to inhabit, but the outstanding requirements remain.


About Mary Moser

Check Also

Real estate mogul Rene Benko faces a more critical spotlight

I was walking down Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s main shopping street, with a friend last Saturday. We …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.