Senate Bill S5469 has made it out of the legislature in Albany and awaits the Governor’s signature. Hooray!
And what does this bill do? Well, right now, state law prohibits buildings with a floor-area-ratio (FAR) greater than 12 unless they have at least six operating elevators. That makes it really expensive to build anything taller than 12 stories but shorter than a skyscraper. In addition, the law means that if you want to build higher, you need to buy the air rights from an adjoining lot.
(A FAR of 12 means that a building that covers the entire lot cannot rise higher than 12 stories.)
The bill now gives New York City an exception. Since midtown Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn have no city-imposed height limits, it will now be much easier to build tall. And building tall means that affordable-housing requirements will kick in, forcing developers to include 20% affordable housing.
It is not the millenium, but it is a good move.