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  • Most skyscrapers stand between 150 and 300-metres  high. Those rising over 300-metres are called  

  • supertallsand those going over 600-metres fall  into the incredibly raremegatallcategory.

  • Only four buildings in the world have ever  achieved this status and none of them are  

  • in New York or even in the Western Hemisphere  - which doesn't make a lot of sense when you  

  • consider that a city like New York sits on solid  bedrock, has very little space and therefore  

  • needs to build upwards and kind of knowsthing or two about skyscraper construction.

  • So why isn't there a megatall skyscraper in New  York City? The answer lies deep within its soul.

  • New York's lack of megatall skyscrapers  actually has nothing to do with engineering.  

  • It's entirely feasible to build  over 600-metres high in the city  

  • thanks to solid bedrock and an incredible  amount of expertise in the local area.

  • If you wanted to build a megatall then  you could - but that's the problem.  

  • Hardly anyone wants to build a skyscraper that  high in this city for a whole host of reasons.

  • Firstly, there just isn't the demandManhattan's office market - which drove  

  • construction of the Empire State, World  Trade Center and One Vanderbilt

  • had become saturated before the pandemic and will  likely take some time to recover afterwards.

  • The luxury real estate market, which drove the  construction of several super slender towers  

  • from small parcels of land along Billionaires  Row in recent years has also been cooling off.

  • Those structures only really became  financially viable because of the  

  • prices they were able to command  for their location and park views.  

  • You couldn't let commercial space  for anywhere near the same rate.

  • Past megatall skyscrapers have cost well overbillion US dollars to construct, so any developer  

  • would need to recoup a pretty considerable sum  from office or residential lets to make a profit.

  • But past megatall skyscrapers were  not constructed in New York -   

  • a market that frequently tops the list of the  world's most expensive cities to build in.

  • Project's here cost several hundred  dollars more per square foot to build  

  • than in the Middle East or Asia.

  • The availability of land in New York City  also dramatically increases development costs.

  • While engineers have pioneeredway to build slender skyscrapers  

  • that maximise floor area on very small sites,  

  • no slender tower has ever exceeded 472-metres  and megatalls require much larger bases.  

  • Any developer would have to acquire the right size  site in one of the world's most desirable cities.

  • But even owning a suitable site doesn't give you  licence to build as high as you'd like - and all  

  • projects have to adhere to the city's strict  zoning regulations to get planning permission.

  • The rules use a floor area ratio  equation to control the height of  

  • a structure relative to the size of  it's site and surrounding context.  

  • To build tall, developers have to acquire  air rights from nearby properties - in  

  • separate legal transactions - and  stack them onto their own sites.

  • Those building megatalls would need to acquire  enough rights to rise above 600-metres.

  • Unfortunately the barriers to constructingmegatall skyscraper in New York don't end there.

  • Even if there was the demand and you were able  to make the business case work, find the right  

  • size site and acquire all the air rights you needone final and highly emotive hurdle would remain.

  • One World Trade Center rises from ground  zero in Lower Manhattan to a height of  

  • 1,776 feet - a nod to the year of American  Independence.  

  • Often dubbed theFreedom Towerthe skyscraper is the tallest in the city and holds huge symbolism for many New Yorkers.

  • Though there's no official rule about building  taller, doing so would be extremely difficult.

  • Central Park Tower has a higher roof  line than One World Trade Center but  

  • was forced to abandon earlier plans forlarge spire in the face of public outcry.  

  • Even if you preserved through the public  scrutiny, there aren't many city mayors who  

  • would allow such an unpopular planning  decision to go through on their watch.

  • Looking beyond New York, megatall skyscrapers  are always a serious undertaking wherever  

  • you build them, and each of the four  constructed around the world so far  

  • has had more than its fair share of challenges  - from engineering and economics, to politics.

  • In reality there's yet to be a fully  occupiable 600-metre-plus building.

  • The Burj Khalifa is accessible up to its 163rd  floor, 585-metres above the ground.  

  • You can go 583-metres up in Shanghai Tower  and to 494-metres in Abraj Al Bait.

  • Merdeka PNB 118, currently under construction in  Malaysia, joins the megatall club because of its  

  • near-144-metre high spire. Its highest occupiable  floor is actually 500 metres above ground.

  • Building above 600-metres is not a practical  endeavour, but one undertaken for status.

  • The 828-metre Burj Khalifa was not  built out of a need to densify Dubai,  

  • but to bring the world's tallest building to the  city and put the United Arab Emirates on the map.

  • New York has no hunger for such status. It's  already a world city attracting talent and  

  • investment from across the globewith multiple iconic skyscrapers.

  • Though not impossible, it seems unlikely that  a megatall will ever emerge from these boroughs  

  • and that the city most synonymous with the  skyscraper may actually have topped-out  

  • with one of its most revered structures.

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  • more from the definitive video channel  for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

Most skyscrapers stand between 150 and 300-metres  high. Those rising over 300-metres are called  

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Why There Are No Megatall Skyscrapers in New York

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/26
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