“Billionaire’s Row” — 57th Street

Paul Goldberger, NY Time’s Architecture Critic, shares a unique perspective in Vanity Fair’s, Too Rich, Too Thin, Too Tall? of the super tall and super thin buildings lining the southern edge of Central Park.

The buildings are changing the landscape of NYC:

”These new buildings are so expensive, even by New York standards, because they are built mainly for the global super-rich, people who live in the Middle East or China or Latin America and travel between London and Shanghai and São Paulo and Moscow as if they were going from Brooklyn to Manhattan. “

Apartments are selling more than $10,000 psf, up from the nearly $6,000 psf when construction began in 2010.

Why?

  1. The developers recognize there is a new segment of buyers who are active no matter the economic environment. These buyers are not buying a home; they’re buying a commodity, a safe deposit box.
  2. NYC “trophy” real estate is relatively cheap compared to London and Hong Kong and other markets around the world.
  3. The time and costs to assemble lots and air rights are substantial.
  4. The costs to develop have skyrocketed.
  5. A “starchitect” association adds cachet (“sometimes the result seems more like the architectural equivalent of a fancy label sewn into an ordinary garment”).

Not discussed in the article are the potential long-term effects on the neighborhoods, diversity and motivations of developers (perhaps, a career defining statement).

…What’s happening in London may be a precursor. Alex Preston’s timely article in The Guardian shares a glimpse.


Originally published at raghavsapra.com.