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December 7, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
The New York City skyline is transforming as super tall and skinny needle towers go up faster than weeds. Despite having thin walls and being nothing but glass boxes, the apartments inside are selling for $10 to $90 Million.
Who’s buying these? Who would want to live 800-feet in the air?
The dirty secret is that these bizarre new apartment buildings are not really meant for living. They are just large safe deposit boxes, literally.
With all of the central banks around the world giving away money at zero interest rate, the stock markets are at all-time-high bubble prices. Bonds are played out, and cash earns nothing. Therefore, mostly Russian and Chinese billionaires, with less safe currencies than the United States, are parking their assets in real estate and expensive art in the States.
When a tycoon buys a $90 Million penthouse apartment, they do not even live in them in most cases. They are just investment assets. There is little difference between these glass boxes and a luxurious safety depot box in a private wealth division of a bank.
Why don’t the one-percenters live in these skyhouses? In New York City, income taxes are owed if one lives in the city for more than 183 days (or half a year). Therefore, people often live in states with no income tax, such as Florida or Texas, even if they work in New York City.
This is why so many “owners” in Battery Park City rent out their apartments. They are just investment assets, and the owners call Florida their “home”.
Mayor Bloomberg has championed the construction of these needle tower apartments that ruin the view for people in Central Park and elsewhere. Like Ronald Reagan, he has argued the trickle-down theory, that the taxes paid by the fat cats living in the apartments pay for the services that regular people of New York enjoy. However, that is simply false.
Not only are the people who purchase the apartments leaving them empty and not paying income tax, but the building entities are also not paying property taxes. In 2013, Governor Cuomo quietly signed into law a deal to grandfather in the “421-a” law that gives tax breaks to new buildings in exchange for those buildings offering affordable housing. In reality, the new towers for the wealthy offer no affordable housing units, but pay meager amounts to the city to supposedly fund affordable housing in the outer boroughs (see video above for the PBS story).