Hochul at It Again — Governor Pitches Abolishing State Density Limits for Residential Development in NYC

Not big enough? Proponents of lifting the residential cap say that supersized super-luxury buildings like the 1,550-ft.-tall Central Park Tower (l.; tallest residential building in the world), The Sky at 605 West 42nd Street (m.; 1,175 units and the largest residential building in America), and Silver Towers at 620 West 42nd Street (r.; 1,359 units) should be even bigger, and such allowances would make NYC a more equitable and affordable place.

In her State of the State address Tuesday, Governor Hochul once again called for fulfillment of a longtime goal of the city’s real estate lobby — to eliminate the 60-year-old state law that caps how big and how dense residential development can be in our city. While that exceedingly generous cap has allowed both the world’s tallest and the country’s largest residential buildings to be constructed in recent years in New York City, that’s not enough according to Hochul, Mayor Adams, and real estate interests. The Governor is proposing to gut the rule all together, and simply let City Hall decide when and where supertall, supersized developments should be allowed in residential neighborhoods in our city.

We’ve fought this battle before, stopping this and prior Governors (as well as this and prior Mayors), from stripping away these very reasonable and necessary protections. It should be noted that while this proposal has been wrapped in flowery promises about addressing housing affordability, it comes with no stipulations or requirements whatsoever — not for including affordable housing, not for limiting where oversized development can go, and not for limiting how big these developments may be. All those decisions will be left up to the wisdom and vagaries of the Mayor and the City Council.

It’s almost inevitable that if this state cap is lifted, it will prompt the city to seek to rezone parts of our neighborhoods to these newly allowable ultra-high densities. We need to fight to ensure that does not happen.


January 11, 2024