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By Accord Real Estate Group

Understanding Air Rights In New York

January 18th 2019
Tags: Brooklyn Real Estate, New York Real Estate

All 5 boroughs of New York City, Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island are densely occupied with buildings of every property type whether single family residential, multi family residential, mixed use, commercial, industrial, condominium or cooperative buildings or skyscraper office buildings. For this reason, air rights have become so very important to property owners, investors and developers.

Air rights allow property owners to maximize the square footage that can be built on their property based on zoning regulations. The city has placed some restrictions on zoning in some neighborhoods and increased or up zoned in other neighborhoods. For example, the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning created an explosion of development and population growth in that neighborhood. Other neighborhoods such as Ditmas Park, Windsor Terrace and Greenwood Heights have a limit on the height of new buildings to maintain the character of the neighborhood.

New York City air rights, also known as Transferable Development Rights (TDRs). Air rights are the unused potential of an underbuilt building. It's also known as a vertical real estate space and it is as valuable as the land beneath it.

FAR or floor Are Ratio is the maximum number of square feet that can be built on a site relative to the square footage of the lot. Factors that influence a building’s FAR are the location of the lot (facing a wide street or a narrow street), the planned use for the building (commercial, residential, community or manufacturing) and whether the building offers a benefit to the public (public outdoor space or affordable housing units).

The three ways that air rights can be transferred are:

Zoning Lot Mergers – this is the most common form of air rights transfer where the owner of an underbuilt property with unused development rights, links his property with the developer of an adjacent property or lot so that the developer can build a taller building than what would otherwise be allowed by his property’s FAR.

Special Purpose District Air Rights Transfer. The city allows these transfers in special purpose district cases when there is a particular zoning goal targeting the area. For example, The High Line and Hudson Yards District.

Landmark Transfers involve properties and sites that have been deemed historically or culturally significant by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. There can be an exchange of air rights between an LPC designated landmark and other properties wishing to develop land. The two properties do not have to be contiguous.

If you are interested in selling the unused air rights to your property, call us. We will provide you with the range in value for those rights.

If you are interested in selling your property or you know someone who is planning to sell their Brooklyn New York property, whether a single family residential property,  an apartment building, a commercial property, mixed use, multi family, co op or condo, vacant land or a development opportunity, call us. You will be very happy that you did.

We always bring our clients the top market price for their property and provide exceptional personalized service from initial consultation to closing.
Thank you,
Accord Real Estate Group
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Broker