The Rise and Rise of New York’s Billionaire’s Row | The B1M

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Widely acclaimed as a global city, New York’s
eclectic mix of boroughs and neighbourhoods gives it a rich and diverse identity that
is envied the world over. Shaped by nearly two centuries of economic
cycles and the architectural and urban planning trends that accompany them, the city that
never sleeps is also continually evolving. But one particularly notable development in
recent times is the rise of a Manhattan neighbourhood that caters for the super-rich. With breath-taking views, luxurious interiors,
endless amenities and eye-watering price tags, this new wave of properties are strictly for
those with a 10-figure bank balance. But how did this area come to be? What sparked
its growth in this particular district? How were planning controls addressed, and how
did engineers make the development of such small scraps of land commercially viable? This is the story behind New York’s “Billionaire’s
Row”. With its extreme popularity and highly restrictive
geographic context, Manhattan Island is today one of the most densely populated areas on
Earth. For decades developers have competed for space
here, balancing their quests for return on investment with the requirements of the city’s
planners and respect for the differing identities between the island’s many neighbourhoods. Those distinct areas shape the city we now
experience from the high-rise financial centres around Lower Manhattan and Midtown to the villages of Chelsea, Greenwich and Soho and the exclusive addresses of the Upper
East Side. While planning controls have helped to create clear identities between these different neighbourhoods, they have also made any significant redevelopment
of sites in established residential zones remarkably difficult. With Manhattan’s popularity ever increasing
and rising demand for luxury residences, developers have begun to venture into commercial
areas in search of suitable sites. Situated to the immediate south-west of Central
Park, the Midtown streets between Park Avenue and Columbus Circle have long had an air of
prestige. Home to the iconic Plaza Hotel, the Russian Tea Room, Carnegie Hall and intersected by the desirable Fifth Avenue the district is naturally appealing for high-end residential
developers. In the last decade, several significant schemes
have emerged in this zone, and in particular along 57th Street, leading the area to become
dubbed “Billionaire’s Row”. The completion of One57 in 2014 was followed
by the opening of 432 Park Avenue in 2016 and the development of 53 West 53rd Street,
111 West 57th Street and Central Park Tower thereafter. These schemes offer extreme luxury against
the backdrop of unique Central Park views, addresses in some of the city’s most desirable
streets and close proximity to high-end retail outlets. There is also the added benefit of avoiding
Manhattan’s co-operative arrangements, where buyers typically purchase shares in the corporation
that owns a property in exchange for the exclusive use of one of its units. These arrangements
demand the disclosure of financial information that doesn’t always appeal to the super-rich. With apartment sale prices starting in the
tens of millions and extending well into hundreds of millions, developers have seen returns
of several billion USD on these schemes to date. But building here is not easy. Suffering from
extreme over-development, carefully governed by planning laws and with only very small
sites available, developers and their project teams have been forced to innovate. Commercially, developers need to maximise
floor area in order to recover the costs of purchasing and developing their sites. This often leads them to plan structures that go right up to site boundaries. Concurrently, all schemes must adhere to New
York’s strict Floor Area Ratio (FAR) planning legislation that controls the height of a
structure, relative to the size of its site. To overcome this potential obstacle, developers
purchase air rights from neighbouring properties and effectively stack them onto their sites. For city planners, this approach protects against the over-development of surrounding
properties in the future, while developers and those living within their structures are
assured light and clear views out. These arrangements have the added benefit
of generating capital for those selling their rights, enabling them to progress with smaller
scale construction projects on their own land. 53 West 53rd Street is perhaps the purest
demonstration of this concept to date. Here, the existing Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) sold
an area of land adjacent to their main building together with the air rights above part of
their estate. This enabled the construction of the Jean Nouvel designed 53W53 tower while generating funds to re-develop the museum itself. The link between the two structures on the
site has thankfully been retained in Nouvel’s notably artistic design – that responds
to numerous zoning and setback constraints – and in benefactor memberships at the museum
for those purchasing residences within the tower. With such small sites in their possession,
a strong desire to build high and maximise floor area, and the legal constraints of doing
so removed, developers have turned to their project teams to solve the challenge of building
super-slender towers structures that are defined as having a width-to-height ratio greater than 1:7. By moving away from steel and embracing high-strength
reinforced concrete, engineers have been able to increase design flexibility and the overall
strength of their structures. With high-strength concrete cores housing
their vertical access and service routes, super slender towers move much of their remaining
structure to the perimeter of the floor plate, negating the need for columns and maximising
functionality within residences. In the case of 53W53 and the impressive 432
Park Avenue, this perimeter concrete structure has been stunningly incorporated into the
overall aesthetic of the external façade. But while high-strength reinforced concrete
enabled these super-slender towers to rise, further engineering was required to ensure
their stability at such extreme heights. 432 Park Avenue – with a width-to-height
ratio of 1:15 – features double floor cut-outs at 12 storey intervals throughout its height,
allowing powerful wind forces to pass through, as well as around its extremely thin structure. This prevents areas of low pressure being
created on one side of the structure as air currents move around it. If unmitigated, these
areas could create repetitive, rhythmic suction forces that would cause the tower to sway
towards its upper levels. We have demonstrated the effect of 432 Park
Avenue’s design in a simulation developed using SimScale’s software. With more than 150,000 users worldwide, SimScale
is an easy-to-use cloud-based engineering simulation platform that enables everyone to create powerful, high-fidelity simulations in a web browser. The platform can be tried for free through the Community account, which gives access to thousands of public simulations to promote knowledge sharing and to crowdsource advice. 432 Park Avenue’s open floors are combined
with the use of tuned mass dampers; immensely heavy instruments suspended in voids at the
top of the structure that helps to counteract swaying motions where they begin to occur. The 472 metre Central Park Tower is set to
become the tallest structure on billionaire’s row, and the second highest tower in the United
States when it completes in 2020. This development combines an irregular profile
with numerous setbacks to vary its façade across its height, disrupting wind currents
and preventing the formation of coherent vortices and dominant wind loads that can result in
swaying. We have again demonstrated the impact of this
approach with a SimScale animation. Finally, with a width to height ratio of 1:24,
the breathtakingly narrow and exquisitely detailed 111 West 57th Street steadily tapers
throughout its 435-metre height, breaking up the façade uniformity that can lead to
vortex shedding. The result of these impressive engineering developments is not just the emergence and
continued rise of New York’s billionaire’s row, but the birth of a broader super-slender
skyscraper phenomenon that is starting to influence other markets around the world. The origin of these structures can be traced
directly from New York City and their existence is unique to this specific time in our world’s
architectural history. A product of New York’s own zoning restrictions,
near unrivalled appeal, insatiable developers and engineering ingenuity – billionaire’s
row has become the latest distinct neighbourhood in the rich tapestry of this thriving city. If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.


  1. This is where your tax dollars are going
    Not to renewables, carbon capture tech, public education, or healthcare

  2. I guess the big question is..Can this country afford the super rich anymore? The most pathetic thing about the concentration of wealth is that the poorest people(The rural, white poor) are the ones that are cheering the uber-wealthy the most.

  3. Lol at Human Engineering this technology today was not developed by humans…. The level of theft, greed, and hoarding of natural resources is mind boggling, purchasing air rights if only the M.F's could confiscate and sell air like they have water? Just Wowww people wake up!

  4. Sorry, but part of design is proportion. These super elevated high-rises ruin the New York City skyline. It looks like someone stuck pencils in a cake full of normal sized candles.

  5. Went to NYC last summer to visit and i wouldn’t live there for free. To begin with in manhattan every block looks exactly the same as the last all the so called Burroughs all look alike can’t really tell one from another, all the locals walk around looking like pissed off heartless spineless emotionless robots, the weather in NYC sucks ass it was hot n humid even at night . The whole time i was there i felt like i was trapped in a maze of tall buildings with rude n angry people and with no escape…. I don’t understand why it’s so expensive to live in that claustrophobic dump of a city …..

  6. 90% of those people got their money from their family. The only work ethic they know is investing in sure things, ever if it kills people.

  7. everyone should just rush these buildings and pull these rich pigs out and try them for their crimes…sentence execution

  8. My nerdy scifi brain goes nuts. Im immediately thinking of Bladerunner with the city miles high with flying cars.

  9. To whom do I send the check tomorrow morning? I would like to purchase a couple of those apartments. Maybe three. I can’t decide just yet.

  10. What do you do when you want to go for a walk all they are boxes piled high worse than prison

  11. Hopefully these engineers are working on structure design for when climate change forces us all indoors . .

  12. I am peacefully living in NJ..if i ever have to work in manhattan, i will rather live in seacaucus and take a train everyday , including winter time. There are many locations in NJ where you get a direct commute ( like in my place , wayne ) to port authority as well. Spending time in NYC is the best experience in the world, as long as you do not live there.

  13. Crazy.Only for the RICH. I would by a house for what they want. Everthing is Expensive. Dc starting to look and cost like NYC 😬

  14. Lol you can have it and the taxes that go with it. The socialist will be coming for it. I prefer live simple and fly under radar.

  15. Impressive. I wish buy the Park Avenue Tower and will build another bigger one nearby.

  16. Such huge buildings.. Just Wondering What if a very strong Earthquake will strike in this country?? Where the people gonna run?

  17. Skyscrapers are a kind of gated community. Its much easier to keep the low IQ retards of the third world out. When you do that you can have nice stuff. Build the Wall. Same thing.

  18. You keep the low IQ third world retards out with security on the first floor. In all the floors above people with IQs can live in a clean and safe environment. Build the Wall.

  19. Kensington Palace Gardens (London’s billionaires row), is much nicer than this crap lol, these are just a bunch of tall buildings with no character…

  20. Delighted to learn more about the new skyscrapers up and planned in New York City. Always a bit disappointed at approaches to blending in with an older city, and would need to review the concrete versus traditional steel construction described above.
    We had both high rise fires with ladders only to the 20th floor in Chicago in the 1970s, and recent high rise fire in which the building construction materials were termed defective in Europe. I know about stairwells and fire doors because the disabled in a building who use an elevator "must be carried" by fire personnel from the building. Elevators form a fire vent and cannot be used in a fire.

    The views of New York City make the living accommodations and retail space extremely inviting to buyers. And the Dubai skyscrapers have as many as "50 or more elevators" and are "mini-cities" with restaurants.
    We are delighted at new property development, "termed overdevelopment by the above narrator", and always were concerned on building sway, considered normal in the lower towers. My Seattle hotel had building sway (great harbor view and main city street) during ASPA Seattle 2016 presentation and meetings.
    Julie Ann Racino, ASPA (American Society for Public Administration), 2019

  21. I hope those who LOVE living in skyscrapers ……. better LOVE riding in elevators & owning a jet pack (once a fire breaks out).  You will be TOAST unless you have your jet pack to escape the rising toxic smoke & collapsing floors!  BUYER BEWARE! * Cav *

  22. Beautiful NYC… I don’t have Manhattan view from my window… so I painted it 😀

  23. I would think that once you get to this level in life you have so much money that you spend to keep yourself from getting bored easily as you can afford anything you want. You spend for vanity.

  24. Wow! Learned quite a bit! (Sounds like the “Global Warming ‘Sell Your Carbon Credits’ Money Scheme” is useable also in building zone regulations! 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑)

  25. I don't like the ugly new stuff and I don't like the huge moving TV screen ads that hide a whole building…ugly, garish, monstrous

  26. I'm sorry, but its glass. Its elegant but its glass. Could you imagine how amazing it would be had they incorporated greenery as well, especially with it looking over central park. It would give you a sensation on being a part of the park, so glass… its gorgeous but in NYC its just another building.

  27. New York is a total and utter mess. It looks like every man and his dog is dumping a skyscraper/building there.

  28. Funny how the middle class has long left Manhattan…homelessness is everywhere inflation has separated so far from wages beginning in the late 1970's no manufacturing base…yet everyone has massive bank debts from Loans, cars, Credit cards, medical bills..but the mega rich keep getting richer and Amazon hasn't paid taxes in two years…ever get the idea we have all be ripped off by these very same people living in these buildings?

  29. Billionairres are not as smart as they are often given credit for, hey want to buy a flat (no garden) shit loads of neighbours, surrounded by other flats for 30 million?

    Er, is it the penthouse then ?

    NOPE ITS 10 FLOORS DOWN but you still have an almost half km verfical commute from the ground.. Can i have 6 parking spaces? Er no, you have 1 and no Garden / no pool / no terrace / no view of the sea /

    30 million, sign here

    INSANE FOR A PARTIAL view of a park

  30. So every time i hear about purchasing air right i m confused. What does it actually mean; what are air rights?

  31. Billionaire’s Row: We got the richest of the the rich living here

    Hudson Yards: imma bout to end this whole man’s career

  32. Man, I work my ass off everyday and struggle to pay for rent in Bedstuy. Some people don't realise how lucky they have it..

  33. Looking at these current aerial videos of Manhattan it looks poor compared to modern cities of Asia, cities like Shanghai, Seoul, Beijing, Hong KOng, etc.. New York had a 200 year advantage but it got surpassed. There are no more giants of the industry competing to build the highest skyscraper, no really funky buildings.. We got trampeled in 20 years… Couple that with those idiots in city planning and you got what we have today. Also I guess these billionaires just want to buy themselves a 50 million penthouse, nobody wants to invest into the city to make it the greatest city in the world once again.

  34. I stayed on 57th St at the Days Inn on my first trip to NYC in 1992. From Melbourne, Australia. I have been back a few times to the States but not to NYC. Will be there in 3 weeks' time. The over development and empty penthouse apartments is a familiar story here. Minus the billionaire's row price tag. I will miss the tiny white St Nick's Greek Church next to the WTC I visited back then. And pre-gentrification New York. But I won't miss bringing travellers cheques. Thank you for an informative, engaging video.

  35. Very interesting. I can't understand why people want to live that high up though. No thank you, I'd rather be with the masses with our feet on the ground.

  36. 432 Park is such an eyesore. The whole artistic vision was "tall." No character at all, horrible addition to the NYC skyline

  37. use those buildings as a legs, connect them at the top and you have a chair. lol, and then, you can keep going building on and on and oooon……. okeeey 🙁 just an idea

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