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Land Use Committee curtails use of mechanical voids

An example of a mechanical void (Credit: Istock)

The City Council’s Land Use Committee voted unanimously to curtail the “mechanical voids” loophole, TRD first reported. Developers have used it to place large swaths of empty space between floors to increase the height of buildings for nicer views.

  • The change in policy: The committee voted to limit mechanical spaces to a height of 25 feet. Under the proposed rule change, a space that exceeds that amount will counts toward the maximum size of the building. We expect the measure to go for a vote before the full City Council sometime next week.

Heard on the Street: Gary Barnett and Harry Macklowe both agree that the city’s proposal last month (30 feet at the time) was reasonable, but believe critics have mischaracterized the mechanical spaces at Central Park Tower and 432 Park Avenue respectively. 

  • Gary Barnett to the NYTimes: “There is one void and everything else is truly necessary mechanical space, amenity space, and high-ceiling retail space for the first Nordstrom in New York City.”
  • Harry Macklowe: “It offends me because we created a very nice building that fits into the skyline perfectly.” He continued that the mechanical floors have equipment necessary for the building to function. 

Absurdity in Albany: New York State legislators don’t believe the rule change goes far enough. Their proposed legislation would not only regulate the height of mechanical spaces, but would discourage developers from building any floor with ceilings higher than 12 feet.

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