The de Blasio administration took the initial steps toward its planned rezoning of SoHo and parts of NoHo Friday.
In September, Crain’s first reported that the city was seeking to update the arcane land-use rules that prohibit apartments and ground-floor retail in most buildings—two of the most common uses in the area.
As expected, the Department of City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin announced a six-month public engagement process to gain input from various stakeholders. After hearing feedback, the city will likely draw up a technical proposal to shift the neighborhood toward an as-of-right framework. It is unclear whether the officials will push for more housing as well. The area is highly desirable and transit-rich, and the market could easily support affordable apartments. However, much of the neighborhood is landmarked and there are few substantial development sites.
“SoHo and NoHo face unique challenges, not the least of which is outdated zoning,” City Planning Director Marisa Lago said in a statement. “To make sure that these neighborhoods remain a dynamic place for people to work, create, shop and live, we are pleased to be working … on a collaborative planning process.”