Void Where Prohibited Local Group Challenges Use of 'Mechanical Void' to Heighten Condo Tower

(istock.com)

A conflict appears to be brewing between a local preservation group and New York City’s Department of Buildings over an Upper East Side condo tower project that the latter approved.

According to a piece last December in Crain's New York Business, the tower at 249 East 62nd Street would incorporate a “mechanical void” to raise some of the condo units such that they would offer better views and thus sell at higher prices.

Crain's describes the project as such:

“The base of the building seems fairly traditional, with about 15 stories worth of apartments rising from the sidewalk. Atop those units, however, is a mostly hollow pedestal stretching another 150 feet into the air. It contains a few floors of mechanical space with extraordinarily high ceilings, along with some amenity space. Most importantly, it is largely exempt from rules governing how much can be built on a particular plot of land, allowing the height of the overall tower to rise without being penalized with the loss of much square footage. Beginning at around 300 feet up, another 12 floors of apartments are proposed to be stacked on top of the so-called mechanical void.”

Both the preservation group, The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and planning consultant George Janes filed objections to the project last November. They disagreed with the math used in determining the project's size and layout. The opponents also asked why the DOB would approve a building that utilizes one of these large mechanical voids at all. (Developer Real Estate Inverlad did not offer a comment to Crain’s about this project).

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