Residential Sky-Rises, Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

432 Park Avenue, New York City, a 1,397 foot, 89-floor residential sky-rise tower in mid-town Manhattan.

432 Park Avenue, New York City, a 1,397 foot, 89-floor residential sky-rise tower in mid-town Manhattan.

“Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” sang Jimmi Hendrix accompanied by the wail of his guitar. In the 60s traveling to the sky was on the wings of angels but today’s residential sky-rise home buyers do their traveling on high-speed elevators.

A new breed of skyscraper is transforming skylines across the globe, residential towers that reach for the heavens. Residential sky-rises are rapidly increasing in number and are reaching incredible new heights.

In some urban markets, like Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai high-rise residential living is as much a necessity as it is a luxury due to incredibly dense populations. But in those cities and elsewhere around the globe, the world’s wealthy are increasingly seeking out residential sky-rise living for reasons of luxury, security and comfort.

Traveling the globe today it would be hard to imagine that 20 years ago skyscrapers were primarily an American marvel. From 1890 to 1998, the title for world’s tallest building changed hands 11 times all in the United States. In 1990 the top ten tallest buildings were all in the United States. Today, the United States can claim only 4 of the top 25.

The realm of the skyscraper use to be the domain of illustrious and powerful corporations. It wasn’t until 2000 that the first all residential skyscraper “The Belcher’s” was completed in Hong Kong. It is a six building project with a maximum height of 745 feet and 63 floors. The Trump World Tower, New York quickly eclipsed it in 2001 (861 feet, 72 floors), followed by the 21st Century Tower, Dubai in 2003 (863 feet) and the Q1 in Queensland, Australia in 2005 (1,058 feet, 78 floors.)

According to data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 30 out of today’s top 100 tallest buildings are all-residential or mixed-use residential (residential, hotel, office.) The tallest is the Burj Kahlifa in Dubai, completed in 2010. It stands 2,717 feet tall and has 163 stories. For a perspective on its height, the Burj Kahlifa is more than twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York City.

The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago currently holds the record for the tallest mixed-use residential building in the United States coming in at 1,389 feet and 98 stories.

Currently listed for sale in the Trump Tower is the highest residence in the Western Hemisphere, unit 89A a 14,260 square foot, 5 bedroom, 8-bath, penthouse on the 89th floor that features 16-foot high, 360-degree view panoramic windows. The height for the Trump Tower residence at 1,178 feet is dizzying but the purchase price of $32 million is remarkably low considering that the price per square foot of other landmark residential sky-rises is 4 to 5 times as much.

But this is just a hint of things to come. CTBUH data on tall buildings under construction reports that 45 of the 100 skyscrapers currently being built will be all-residential or mixed-use residential. Their dates for completion range between 2013 and 2019. 16 will be over 1,250 feet tall and the Kingdom Towers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, will be a record 3,281 feet tall with 167 stories.

Two New York City residential sky-rises are attracting attention. One57, is a 1,004 foot residential and hotel tower with 79 floors which is scheduled for completion in 2014, It is located at 157 West 57th Street and pre-sales at the project have already broken $1 Billion. The most prominent sale are the combined penthouses on the 75th and 76th floors for a reported price of $90 million.

432 Park Avenue is a 1,397-foot, 89 floor, all-residential tower that is scheduled to be completed in 2015. Pre-sales are reported to be brisk. The tower, that is taller than the Empire State Building, will have commanding views of Manhattan and the boroughs and will eclipse the Trump Tower in Chicago as the tallest residential structure in the Western Hemisphere.

San Francisco has three high-rise residential projects underway; 181 Fremont Street a 54 floor, 800 foot residential mixed use development; 706 Mission Street a 49 floor residential tower; and 45 Lansing Street a 45 floor residential tower.

HomeSF.com features high-rise and sky-rise properties and market information. For information on current high-rise listings in San Francisco visit the HomesSF.com “Top Urban Lifestyle Listings.”

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