In a well-documented, yet unofficial competition in Manhattan’s luxury new construction condominium market, developers are locked in an arms race over who can build the tallest and most impressive new condominium. The most eye-catching buildings offer status to residents and fame to the developers and architects behind the project. One aspect of this competition that has received less attention, however, is the realization by some developers that size isn’t everything. Or at least, vertical size. Many new construction condominiums are not only getting taller; they are also getting skinnier, resulting in a more striking skyline and more opportunities to purchase apartments with stunning views.
The traditional girth for a tall building is at least 10,000 square feet per floor, but many new condominiums in Manhattan are pushing the limits of materials and technology to floor areas of six, four, or even just over one thousand square feet. One57, one of the most anticipated projects in Manhattan is set to have floors just over 6,000 square feet and rises over 1,000 feet. One Madison Park is another condominium under construction and will feature floors of just 3,300 square feet. Behind this trend is a simple explanation: taller buildings offer great views. The common problem is the simple fact that each building can only have so many high floors. By building taller and skinnier buildings, real estate developers are able to offer spectacular views to more buyers. Smaller floors also equates to greater privacy and exclusivity, two qualities that hold extreme value to most Manhattan residents.
The combination of this desire for the status and pleasure of stunning views combined with developments in technology and materials means that buildings no longer need to be as thick as they once did in order to support their height. These technological developments do not, however, mean that constructing these new skinny skyscrapers is cheap; the extra work required to lift materials to the impressive heights that attract buyers is expensive, as is the additional design and planning work demanded from more precarious structures. Many buyers in the luxury condo market are willing and happy to pay the high prices that come with better views and the exclusivity of smaller floors.
These new, slimmer buildings also have the benefit of maximizing real estate, an all-too precious commodity in Manhattan’s most coveted neighborhoods. No more do developers need to carve out large areas of land in order to build a great condominium; less floor space means more opportunities for exciting developments, which is exactly what is taking place with some of Manhattan’s most intriguing and impressive new condominium constructions.