- The New York City Department of Buildings issued 165,988 construction permits in 2018, a near 1.3% decline from the number of permits issued in 2017 (168,243), indicating that the city’s building boom might have ended. This is the first dip in the number of construction permits since 2009, but 2018’s permit totals are still noteworthy as they are the second-highest on record.
- Despite less activity, the city’s 2018 permits represent projects that will add 46 million square feet — the equivalent of 1.5 miles — of floor space and an overall 44% increase in permits issued compared to 2013.
- Reflecting the slight downturn in permits, the number of city construction workers also fell from a record high of 46,000 in 2017 to 45,500 in 2018. This is the first decrease in the number of workers since 2008; however, like 2018 permit activity, employment numbers last year represented the city’s second-highest ever.
More than 40% of all 2018 permits issued were for projects in Manhattan, but Brooklyn scored the most permits for new construction. There were also high concentrations of building permits issued for projects in the city’s waterfront areas, a continuing trend.
Related Cos.’ $25 billion Hudson Yards development on Manhattan's West Side continues to be a driver of New York City construction activity. In 2018, the city issued a permit for 50 Hudson Yards, which Related said will be the fourth largest commercial tower in New York City when complete in 2022. The self-reported construction cost for that project was $431 million, the highest of any other 2018 permit.
When complete, the 2.9-million-square-foot 50 Hudson Yards will stand 958 feet tall and provide tenants with direct access to an adjacent retail development and to the subway. The building, which is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification, will also feature private “sky lobbies.”
The 2018 permit with the second-highest construction costs — $328 million — was also a Hudson Yards property, The Spiral, with an estimated total value of $3.2 billion. The Bjarke Ingels Group-designed tower, which started construction in July, is named for the line of winding, landscaped terraces that will snake up and around the building when it is complete and will offer 2.8 million square feet of office space.
Related announced in April that Pfizer will take up 800,000 square feet across seven floors under a 20-year lease. At the same time, the developer also revealed that it has secured a $1.8 billion construction loan for the project, one of the biggest ever for a Manhattan property.