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Old February 17th, 2006, 08:57 PM   #21
Urban Dave
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They should be taller
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Old February 18th, 2006, 04:16 AM   #22
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At least they are finally above the ground.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 01:12 AM   #23
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looks nice
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Old February 20th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #24
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Great change in NYC, that's cool.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 12:53 AM   #25
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/re...=1&oref=slogin
Selling the Air Above

By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: March 5, 2006


Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

LOCATION IS KEY Four small buildings on West 99th Street sold most of their air rights for about $2.7 million to the developer of a new condominium tower with its entrance on Broadway. Their air rights were valuable because they share a lot line with the site of the condo.


ON an island where there is often nowhere to build but up, the air in Manhattan can get pretty pricey. Air-rights deals, or the sale of unused development rights from one property owner to another, are generally considered the business of big-time developers. But in cheek-by-jowl Manhattan, homeowners, small-building owners and co-op boards can often find themselves involved, too. While potentially lucrative, such deals are complex and can even raise ethical quandaries for property owners.

On the Upper West Side, the owners of four town houses on 99th Street, west of Broadway, sold a total of 19,148 square feet of development rights last April to the Extell Corporation, which will allow Extell to add about four stories to a large, and controversial, condominium tower it is building on the block.

Extell approached the town-house owners for their air rights because the properties all share at least 10 feet of lot line with the developer's building site — a requirement for most air-rights deals. Several of the town-house owners said they were distressed over the idea of a tall building going up next door, one that would loom over their backyards and one that had been opposed by many people in the neighborhood because of its size. But they ultimately decided to band together and hire a lawyer to advise them and work out a contract with Extell.

"Basically, our feeling was it was going to happen; they were going to build this thing," said Jonathan F. Richards, who owns the upper two floors of one of the town houses that had been turned into a co-op with two units. Mr. Richards lives in New Mexico, and his apartment is used by a family member.

"We didn't feel that by selling or refusing to sell we would have any impact on whether they would build," he said.

The owners' lawyer, Gary R. Tarnoff, said he was able to get Extell to agree to several concessions that benefited his clients, including an agreement that the developer would try to place a garage entrance away from their property.

But while the owners negotiated the overall contract together, they agreed on prices separately. According to a calculation based on the real estate transfer tax paid on the transactions, they were paid a total of $2.72 million. Individual payments ranged from $584,000 to $764,000, depending on both the square foot price and the amount of air rights each owner decided to sell, city records show.

Each property had a different amount of air rights available to transfer, and two of the buildings kept 500 square feet of air rights in case they wanted to add on to their houses in the future. The price per square foot paid by Extell was $132 to $148.

The incentives for the developer are clear. Construction and marketing costs are generally estimated to be $450 to $500 a square foot, although the figure generally rises as you go higher in a building. Adding in the air rights, that puts the developer's costs at roughly $650 a square foot on the upper floors. The apartments on the top four floors of Extell's building have been priced at about $1,500 a square foot, leaving plenty of room for profit.

Extell has faced vocal opposition in the neighborhood to its 32-story tower, which it plans to call the Ariel West. Residents contend that the building is out of scale with others around it — including the town houses that have sold their air rights.

Last year, demolition work on a former Gristede's supermarket on the site caused a wall to collapse, briefly trapping a child in a stroller. That renewed attention on the project, but it has gone forward nonetheless, and workers are building the foundation.

The opposition has made some of the town-house owners nervous, and three of the six owners (two of the buildings have been converted into two-unit co-ops) asked that their names not be used and one refused to talk to a reporter. They said that they feared drawing their neighbors' ire for cooperating with the developer or that they were wary of violating a confidentiality provision in the air-rights deal.

But one of the owners said she regretted taking part in the deal altogether. She said that construction workers had dug up part of the backyards of the town houses, apparently under a construction easement that was part of the air-rights contract. But she said the work went beyond what she had expected and that the workers had removed one large tree from her property and damaged the roots of another.

"Everything was dead and gone and dug out," said the owner. "I'm sorry I sold them anything."

Deals do not always have to spell regret, but many people who sell development rights do feel pressured in a variety of ways. Like the 99th Street owners, they may dislike the idea of helping someone put up a tall building next door. They may also believe that it would be foolish not to profit from the opportunity.

At the same time, developers frequently play one neighbor off against another. That is because a developer may be able to choose from among several adjoining properties when buying development rights. A developer may tell an owner that if he or she will not agree on a price, a deal will be made with someone else on the block.

Frank Farina sold 14,472 square feet of development rights last March for about $3 million, or $213 a square foot, to a developer that owned a site next door to his five-story building at 231 East 34th Street. Mr. Farina, 79, a retired restaurant owner, lives in the 19-unit century-old building and rents out the apartments.

"So far I'm happy with it," Mr. Farina said of the deal. "I had no use for those air rights myself. I wasn't about to build on top of my building. It was a no-brainer for me. I had no cause for turning it down."

The market for air rights in Manhattan, in its current form, dates to a revamping of city zoning rules in 1961. Those rules established density restrictions for every block in the city, expressed as a ratio of floor area to lot size. For instance, a 10,000-square-foot lot zoned with a floor-area ratio (or F.A.R.) of 10 could hold a building no larger than 100,000 square feet. But if a developer bought 15,000 square feet of unused air rights from his neighbors, then he could put up a 115,000-square-foot building.

When a property owner sells his air rights, he is really agreeing to merge his property with another one into what is known as a single "zoning lot." In most cases, the receiving site has to share at least 10 feet of lot line with the selling site. On 99th Street, the town houses all back up to the Extell property.

But F.A.R. can also be made to pass through a series of properties. That is, if a development company buys air rights from a neighbor, it can then buy the air rights from the next property down the block, even though it does not directly border on the building site. That is because all three properties will then be made part of the same contiguous zoning lot.

In a case that has received a great deal of attention recently, the developers William L. and Arthur W. Zeckendorf have been trying to increase the size of a planned condo tower on East 60th Street. The Zeckendorf brothers worked out an agreement to buy air rights from the property next door, which is owned by the Grolier Club. That allowed them to approach Christ Church on the other side of the Grolier Club, which had more air rights available.

The Zeckendorfs offered both properties $430 a square foot for their air rights, in what would be the highest price ever paid in such a deal. But more recently some members of the Grolier Club have balked at the arrangement, pointing out that the club's air rights are actually more valuable to the developers, since without them the Zeckendorfs cannot buy air rights from the church.

An exception to this rule exists for buildings with landmark status; they are allowed to transfer development rights across the street. And there are some specially designated areas in which certain properties are allowed to transfer their air rights anywhere within a specified zone.

One of these areas was created to benefit some two dozen Broadway theaters, which can transfer their air rights anywhere between 40th and 57th Streets and Avenue of the Americas and Eighth Avenue. And, while air-rights deals are most common in Manhattan, where the premium on buildable space is highest, they can occur anywhere in the city.

Robert I. Shapiro, the president of City Center Real Estate, a brokerage and consulting company specializing in development rights deals, cautions that, in practice, all air rights are not equal. Some blocks have height restrictions, so that no matter how many square feet of development rights a developer has at his disposal, his ability to build upward has a definite limit.

Other factors affect the value of air rights. When a developer has several neighboring plots to choose from in buying air rights, the law of supply and demand will help keep the price low. The opposite is true if a developer needs the air rights from a particular parcel. There are also some restrictions on the transfer of air rights between high- and low-density zoning parcels.

As a rule of thumb, air rights typically sell for about 50 to 60 percent of what a piece of land would sell for, said Bob Von Ancken, an air-rights expert who is executive managing director of Grubb & Ellis Consulting Services. In other words, a medium-size parcel that could hold a 100,000-square-foot building might sell for $45 million, or $450 a buildable square foot. A neighboring property owner then might expect his air rights to sell in the neighborhood of $225 a square foot, as long as there are no other factors affecting the price.

Mr. Von Ancken works to determine the value of air rights to improve his clients' leverage. Because buying air rights allows a developer to build higher, Mr. Von Ancken bases his estimates on the value of the upper floors of the proposed building. And since the upper floors bring the highest prices in apartment and office buildings alike, Mr. Von Ancken argues that the air rights should bring in premium prices as well.

Air rights can become important to buildings and individual co-op owners even if they are not considering selling them to a neighboring property owner. Some co-ops have found that they have to understand the value of air rights in considering proposals to expand individual apartments.

Elliott Meisel, a lawyer who advises many co-op boards, recently worked on a deal involving a building on Broadway in the mid-70's. Several years ago, the building had sold a group of antiquated maids' rooms on the roof to a couple that turned them into a 1,000-square-foot penthouse with a large terrace. But last year the couple decided they wanted more space, and they approached the board about putting on another room.

A consultant determined that the building had about 525 square feet of unused air rights, and the couple agreed to pay the board $250,000 for the right to build an addition of that size on the roof. Because the building was a co-op, the couple were not buying the air rights outright, Mr. Meisel said, but instead were buying more shares, entitling them to use the building's air rights.

Mr. Meisel said the co-op booked the payments as a capital contribution for the issuance of new shares so it would not be considered taxable income, and the money went to the building's reserve fund.

The construction and condo boom of recent years has led to an increase in air-rights deals, according to consultants and lawyers who specialize in these transactions. And while the pace of development may decrease as construction costs rise and the real estate market responds to higher interest rates, they say they have yet to see a downturn in the demand for air rights.

"It's been the busiest time that I have ever had," said Mr. Shapiro of City Center Real Estate, who has been involved in air rights deals for more than two decades. "I'm working seven days a week on this sort of stuff."
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Old July 25th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #26
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From TalB...Turning out so much better than the renders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalB
Updates of one of the Ariel Bldgs from Curbed.

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Old August 11th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #27
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if you know where Bloomberg is, you can see Aerial East.

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Old August 11th, 2006, 09:43 AM   #28
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It looks taller than I thought it would be from that angle. That's a great ******* shot, btw.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #29
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yea agreed. taller than thought. nice place for it too.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #30
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Can we get some mre pictures of these buildings they look awsome.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 02:02 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemonkee
It looks taller than I thought it would be from that angle. That's a great ******* shot, btw.
yes a great photo.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 02:57 AM   #32
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Here is a pretty distant and grainy shot I got of this tower back in july. . .



it sticks out in the UWS almost like trump palace does on the UES....
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Old August 12th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #33
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The Panorama looks so gigantic!!!
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Old August 15th, 2006, 07:51 AM   #34
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Here are some shots I took a couple weeks ago













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Old August 15th, 2006, 11:42 AM   #35
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The slenderness makes it very cool! I love it!
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