Advances in building technology and a scarcity of space in urban areas have nurtured a crop of thin apartment towers across the world. Although high-density cities like Hong Kong have long been dotted with spindly residences, US developers have traditionally opted for larger, more stable floors measuring at least 10,000 square feet for skyscrapers.
One of the most prominent svelte projects in New York is the Rafael Viñoly-designed 432 Park Ave., which will rise about 145 feet taller than the Empire State Building and have 8,250-square-foot floors. Some of the levels at 1,004-foot-tall One57, the hottest new home for billionaires and broken cranes, will measure only 6,240 square feet. Another needle-bodied tower is Cetra/Ruddy-designed One Madison Park in the Flatiron District, a 597-foot-tall condo project with 3,300-square-foot floors.
These supermodel-proportioned buildings are commanding pretty hefty prices, partly as a function of their impressive views: 432 Park Ave. developer CIM Group is planning to list a six-bedroom penthouse for $85 million, and the tower’s units will ask an average $4,800 per square foot.
As the buildings climb higher, so do construction costs: at certain elevations, steel requires more time to hoist and high winds can delay construction. A damper is needed at the top of especially tall structures to prevent wind sway and motion sickness in residents.
“It’s definitely not easy or cheap,” Michael Stern, managing partner of JDS Development Group, told the Wall Street Journal. The demand for ever-taller buildings with stellar views in the luxury market has fueled the recent bumper crop of beanstalk apartments, which otherwise would be too expensive to erect.
With smaller floors, these towers have fewer residents per level, which can be a bonus to buyers. “It gives the opportunity for more exclusivity, better views,” Corcoran Group president Pamela Liebman told the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve never had someone say, ‘Can’t you show me an apartment with a longer hallway?'”