The city is on schedule to regulate so-called excessive mechanical voids by the end of the year, dealing a blow to developers who use a quirk in the building code to boost the height of their luxury apartment towers.
Mechanical voids are essentially floors used to house the heavy equipment that powers a building's systems. However, by raising the ceilings of these spaces to dizzying heights, developers increasingly have been creating hollow pedestals upon which they can stack luxury apartments. Because these upper units can typically command better views than neighboring structures without large voids, they can be sold at premium prices to pay for the additional construction while still boosting profits. An apartment building proposed by Extell Development at 50 W. 66th St., for example, will have only 40 floors, yet it is slated to be 775 feet tall, according to a neighborhood group opposed to the plan.