Sale of Air Rights: NYC


To explore the sale of air rights of 37 W. 28th Street, New York, NY 10001, a commercial building in NYC, to better understand how the sale will impact a sub-leased property. To obtain a confirmation of the sale of the property's air rights, when the sale took place, who purchased the air rights, and if time allows, to better understand the transfer of air rights and how that impacts a building in New York City.

Early Findings


  • Air rights are the development rights of the airspace above the building.
  • The first legal limits were put in place because of airplanes. The extent of airspace is determined by what could be reasonably use.
  • New York City air rights were formally referred to as Transferable Development Rights, or TDRs. It was introduced during the 1961 revamping of the city zoning laws.
  • To developers, height is a prime asset in New York.
  • Air rights are defined as, "The ratio of a building's total floor area to the area of its zoning lot." This is referred to as FAR.
  • This calculation may seem simple but surveyors and architects are required for this to be "trued up."


  • In Manhattan, the average cost of air rights is $225 per square foot.
  • Considering that the average price of national housing across the US is just $64.44 per square foot, New York air rights are much more expensive.
  • The top floors are the highest revenue producers. Some developers have had to pay the same amount for airspace as they did for the piece of land.


37 W. 28th Street, New York, NY 10001

  • This shows us the surrounding properties.

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