Preservation Issues

Void The Voids - Tell City Planning To Act Now For Responsible Development


-Rendering of 34 West 66th Street - courtesy of West 65th and 66th Streets Block Association and George M. Janes

August 2018

We need your help to stop a planned 775-foot tower overlooking Central Park that will use more than 200 feet of empty space to get to that height. The proposed skyscraper at 34 West 66th Street is in a special district with height restrictions but the developers have found a way around them: voids.

This week, the focus is on the Upper West Side, but this issue is affecting neighborhoods across New York. These oversized, empty spaces in the middle of “supertalls” boosted the height at 432 Park Avenue, One 57, and other towers. They will continue to artificially inflate buildings, unless the City Planning Department makes a change.

Watch this video to see how this “supertall” will look, just feet away from a historic district.

Community groups, elected officials (see letter) and preservationists have decried these voids and other zoning loopholes in recent months. Some “supertalls” have 100-foot-high boiler rooms and oversized mechanical spaces scattered throughout the buildings.

Please email Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Department, and tell her act now and refuse to allow voids at this and other buildings. The deadline for zoning challenges to 34 West 66th Street is September 9.

Message: Stop Voids Now. Don’t allow a 200-foot void at 34 West 66th Street.

City Planning has said that the agency will study the issue and publish a report by the end of the year. We’re pleased to see them taking that step, but it might be too little, too late. Chair Lago should act now to prevent any more voids.

If built as planned, 34 West 66th would bring midtown “supertalls” to the residential Upper West Side, in the Special Lincoln Square District where height restrictions apply. Allowing this building will encourage future attempts to circumvent restrictions in contextual-zoned areas, National Register historic districts and even City-designated historic districts.

“Supertalls” are a part of New York’s skyline. But they don’t belong in residential areas. Developers shouldn’t be allowed to evade zoning restrictions to achieve them. It’s time for the City to listen to its residents, and end these zoning loopholes.