Purchasing additional air rights would conceivably allow 393 Broadway to be built up to the maximum height of 120’ (subject to a setback).
Interestingly and perhaps as a result of these building height and setback requirements, the 9th and 10th floors of 395 Broadway do not have as many lot line windows as do the higher floors (11th to 15th), as shown below:
Moreover, using Google Street View, we discovered that most of the lot-line windows at 395 Broadway were added between October 2014 and August 2016. Since the lot-line windows are fairly new and such an installation is very expensive, it’s likely that the owners of these apartments conducted a similar risk analysis of possible future development of 393 Broadway before making the investment in adding these lot-line windows.
All of this strongly suggests, but does not guarantee, that the existing south facing lot line windows at 395 Broadway are not at risk of being bricked up.
If, however, the 9th and 10th floors decided to add a 3rd lot-line window (similar to what higher floors have), these would be at risk if 393 Broadway were to built higher than 85’.
At this point, we’re not quite finished with our analysis. From our earlier zoning research, we also observed that the C6-2A District has a ‘Residential District Equivalent’ of R8A. Although 393 Broadway is in a Commercial Zoning District, the construction of a residential building may still be permitted.
Any such construction would be subject to the zoning regulations of R8A. Therefore, we also need to research the R8A Residential Zoning District.
Further research tells us that the R8A Zoning District has a maximum FAR of 6.02 and a maximum building height of 120’:
The R8A FAR and max building height of 6.02 and 120’ are almost identical to the C6-2A FAR and max building height of 6 and 120’ respectively, as we observe below:
While this additional analysis falls outside the limited scope of this article, it’s something that a zoning professional would need to evaluate as part of a comprehensive risk analysis of these lot line windows.
Is the adjacent empty or underdeveloped lot a condo or co-op?
The primary way to assess the risk of losing lot windows is to research the underlying ownership structure of the adjacent building(s). Is it a condo or co-op building, or a building with a single owner?
In the case of condos and co-ops, the risk of more stories being added is extremely low. This is because most condo and co-ops do not have enough money for development, nor is it likely that existing owners and the Board will actually vote to undertake such a complicated project which is far outside the scope of the normal day-to-day responsibilities of running a condo or co-op building.