Lynn Ellsworth of the preservation group The Tribeca Trust counters that “higher prices in historic districts reflect a huge untapped demand for more of what these districts offer, such as construction predictability, sunlight, architectural beauty, walkability, and livable density, the very things people want.” The shortage of affordable housing has many causes, principally the stark disparity in profit margins for developers in the luxury housing market in comparison to those building affordable units. She notes that the rising prices of properties in historic districts could be offset if developers built new neighborhoods with the same qualities found within the districts. Instead, what developers want to build in New York is a new generation of super-tall, super-thin skyscrapers creating “hyper-density” within and on top of the historic city, the enormous costs of such towers justified by the even more enormous prices the world’s wealthiest buyers are willing to pay for units on Central Park South and West 57th Street. These developments and the recent up-zonings of the Midtown East neighborhood presage a wave of new building that could dwarf New York’s already gargantuan scale.
Preserving the city of tomorrow by Steven W. Semes – The New Criterion