What Are the Whys and Hows of a Lot of the Recent Super Talls?


Why and How:

  • With the mantra...”enough money can solve any problem” the technology to build super-tall buildings with a small footprint existed for a while. However it was cost prohibitive until the last cycle (I.e. the cost to build it was more expensive than what it would sell for). The selling prices of 157 W 57th Street changed that metric and developers could make a profit even though the costs were exceptionally high. 
  • With a small footprint, every 30 floors or so need to allow wind to flow through a floor and a large counterweight of a water tank. (You can physically see these floors at 432 Park Avenue).  This is to minimize the swaying of the building and prevent the residents from getting seasick. Of course, the floors cannot be used for anything else, which adds to the overall cost of the project.

Effect on the market:

  • Each super-tall building is a micro-neighborhood onto itself and each has its own vibe. Since it is an exclusive  micro-neighborhood, the prices are much higher than the surrounding buildings.
  • Super-talls usually have three price points:

    a. Trophy: $40,000,000 and up. These units have breathtaking views and are very large. They also have superior finishes.

    b. Mid-level: $10,000,000-40,000,000. You get some views (but not superior) and often great space.

    c. Entry: $10,000,000 and below. You get the same finishes as the trophy models but no views and small spaces. Basically your paying for the privilege to be in the micro-neighborhood.

  • Resurgence in townhouses. Many buyers who look at entry and mid-level apartments in super-talls say “I could have a whole townhouse for that amount of money in a prime neighborhood. The added benefits are: no condo board, more privacy, and (if your afraid of heights) no fear.

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