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Exploiting Downtown's Unused Air Rights

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, January 16, 2006, at 04:12PM

The LA Business Journal is running a story about Downtown air rights (free, but registration required) that talks of ideas to sell the Convention Center's unused height entitlements to nearby housing developers.

The concept involves taking square footage that could have -- but was not -- built on a piece of property and transferring it to other parcels with tighter zoning restrictions. In the case of the Convention Center -- a low slung complex spread out on 20 acres -- there are 4.3 million square feet of excess development under existing zoning.

The result: Taller condo buildings downtown. A building's height now is capped by a formula based on the size of its lot. But developers can add stories to their buildings by buying the air rights from nearby parcels.

I'm wholeheartedly in favor of this sort of thing. The taller the better in my opinion. As Richard Meruelo is quoted as saying in this week's Downtown News

From a street perspective, whether you are standing next to a six-story building or a 60-story building you don't notice the difference. It's the first 30 feet that you notice. After that it could hit the moon.

LABJ article spotted at LA Observed.

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