The slender skyscrapers changing New York’s skyline
The Empire State Building, the Art Deco Chrysler Building, the super-tall One World Trade Center. New York City is home to some of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers. But the buildings entering its famous skyline today are doing something unusual. They’re getting skinnier. Complex zoning laws in the city were a motivating factor. While such regulations restrict the amount of land that can be built on within an area, a loophole allows for the transference of “air rights” from one plot to another. So developers could buy a small parcel of land, then buy air rights from adjacent plots and stack these to gain permission to build a tall tower. For example, if an existing building is shorter than its maximum allowed height then the developer of a new adjacent property could purchase the unused air rights, and stack them to the air rights of their existing plot — such a transaction is called a “zoning lot merger.”
loophole – an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules
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breach – make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence)