Architecture & Real Estate | February 5, 2021 11:07 am

Ultra-Tall Skyscraper for Manhattan’s Mega-Wealthy Plagued With Height-Related Problems

Life at 432 Park Ave, one of Manhattan's tallest and wealthiest addresses, is not what it seems

432 Park Ave
Maybe buildings were never meant to be this tall.
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

I live in a city filled with very tall buildings, and sometimes, while gazing at some of the tallest ones, I’ve thought, “I’m not sure a building should be that tall. I don’t think any good could come of it.”

Unfortunately, no one asked my opinion before beginning construction on 432 Park Ave, a towering structure that stands among the tallest buildings on Manhattan’s famed “Billionaire’s Row” at 1,400 ft. The massive tower is home to ultra-wealthy buyers who have shelled out up to $88 million for condos in the elite building, but much to their dismay, it seems living the high life in a building to match isn’t quite what the residents of 432 Park had hoped. Just five years after its completion, the building is falling apart, with the New York Times reporting the skyscraper and its billionaire residents are plagued by a myriad of problems due largely to the building’s outrageous height.

According to the Times, plumbing issues have left the building vulnerable to frequent flooding and water damage, including back-to-back leaks in November of 2018 that left two of the building’s four residential elevators out of service for weeks. One anonymous buyer even backed out of a $46.25 million contract due to a “catastrophic water flood.”

Another thing that becomes a problem when you live in a super-tall building is wind, apparently. While all buildings sway in the wind, it would seem those forces are much stronger and more destructive at extreme heights, such as those reached by one 432 Park Ave. At one point in 2019, high wind conditions reportedly left a resident trapped in an elevator for nearly an hour and a half, as wind sway at such heights can result in elevator slowdowns and shutdowns.

Residents have also complained about noise, with life in an ultra-tall building apparently haunted by a soundtrack of “creaking, banging and clicking noises,” as well as a trash chute “that sounds like a bomb” when garbage is tossed from great heights.

If this weren’t bad enough, the already disgruntled residents of 432 Park are reportedly being forced to pay more than they expected for their sub-par living experience, including $15,000 in annual fees for the building’s private restaurant — which, by the way, no longer serves free breakfast.

Naturally, this had led to some tension in the building, where, as one resident told the Times, “Everybody hates each other.”

Anyway, it seems like much of this drama could have been avoided if only that building were a bit shorter. Next time someone wants to build an extremely tall building, I encourage them to consult me first, at which point I will suggest that a building probably shouldn’t be that tall, because no good can come of it.

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