Builders are reaching for the skies with recent condo projects, some soaring to the highest heights ever, CNN Money reports. And with a shortage of available lots in many big cities such as San Francisco and Chicago, developers are trying to make these tall buildings thinner so they fit right in.
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In Midtown Manhattan, a series of four sky-high skyscrapers are being built. New York City's One57 soars 1,005 feet and will become one of the city's tallest residential buildings when it is completed later this year. Two penthouses at One57 already have sold for $90 million each. Also, two more nearby condo buildings being constructed over the next two years will be even taller. In a building slated to be finished in 2018, a new skyscraper known as the Nordstrom Tower is expected to soar 1,775 feet, which would make it just one foot shorter than One World Trade Center.
"It's happening all over. I describe this as luxury real estate becoming the new global currency," says real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.
Demand for sky-high residences is mostly coming from international buyers.
"The taller it is, the more prestigious it is. People want trophy homes," says Eric Trump, executive vice president for Donald Trump's Trump Organization.
Developers are paying big bucks for these projects. Construction costs per square foot for high-rise buildings are more than double the amount than it is for shorter buildings, says Brian O'Looney, an architect with Torti Gallas and Partners in Maryland.
As such, developers find the upper floors of these projects are what net them the most profits, since residents are willing to pay higher costs for views. In New York City, for example, higher condos can cost 1 percent to 2 percent more per floor, and up to 20 percent more for an unobstructed view of, say, Central Park, Miller says.
Advances in building materials and techniques are allowing developers to stretch their buildings taller and go thinner without leaving residents with lots of noise on windy days, says architect Timothy Johnson, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.