Olshan is one of the only law firms with a dedicated New York City air rights practice. Experienced in all aspects of these transferable development rights, our real estate lawyers apply a clear understanding of the potential pitfalls, applicable laws, and zoning and land use restrictions, crafting strategies to overcome hurdles to get air rights deals done.

Transferable Development Rights in New York City

With a paucity of available space in New York City, real property is at a premium. Property owners, real estate developers and investors seeking to expand their buildings look to their neighbors’ airspace for the square footage needed to increase their building size or operating area. We help them assemble and combine these properties’ square footage to make a particular development financeable and achievable. 

Transferable development rights (TDRs), or air rights, were created in 1961 by the New York City Zoning Resolution. The law permits a property owner to increase the development potential of its lot by purchasing buildable square footage from adjacent lots, lots with landmarked buildings and lots within certain designated areas such as New York’s theater and High Line districts.

Handling Every Aspect of Air Rights Law

Our real estate lawyers have broad and extensive experience in air rights conveyances, including negotiating, structuring and closing acquisition and sales contracts, zoning lot mergers and zoning lot development agreements.

We advise developers, property owners and investors on the acquisition, development and sale of air rights and knowledgeably work with the client’s architects and zoning and other experts to address permitting, zoning, environmental and other land use-related issues. We know the market and the industry experts, and our depth of experience enables us to warn clients of potential issues. 

Our team has facilitated numerous complex transactions, assisting both buyers and sellers of air rights in assembling teams, from surveyors to measure building envelopes to code consultants, to accomplish their goals and get deals done.

Through every phase, we work with the client’s architects and zoning and other experts to ensure developers can use newly acquired rights as planned and that sellers understand the limitations on their properties going forward.

  • Represented the Korein family in the multistep sale of air rights from 240 Central Park South to Vornado’s 220 Central Park South (Billionaires’ Row), by temporarily “parking the air rights” over 240 Central Park South. 
  • Represented multiple sellers in the transfer of air rights to Extell’s Central Park Tower (Billionaires’ Row).
  • Represented a joint venture of Boston Properties and Madison Equities for the office building assemblage on Manhattan’s 8th Avenue, consisting of nine lots, two air rights parcels and three different sellers for more than $200 million.
  • Represented the owners in reallocating air rights (and restructuring their ground lease fee position) into a multiuse condominium development in downtown Brooklyn.
  • Represented the Glick family in 2006 in the sale of air rights and again in 2022 in a supplemental air rights conveyance in connection with a  development site on Manhattan’s Upper East Side being developed by Carmel Partners.
  • Represented sellers and developers in the transfer of air rights in connection with the construction of the following condominiums: Vesta 24 Condominium (24th Street and 10th Avenue), The Urban Glass House Condominium (330 Spring Street), Park Avenue Place Condominium (55th Street and Park Avenue), 425 Fifth Avenue Condominium (38th Street and 5th Avenue), Crossing 23rd Condominium (Gramercy-Flatiron District), Jade Condominium (Chelsea), Impala Condominium (76th Street and First Avenue) and The Porter House Condominium (Meatpacking District).


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