City Council Approves Soho and Noho Rezoning

City Advisors Corey Johnson & Margaret Chin with renders of 250 Water Street & River Ring (Getty Images,,,

On their way out the door, City Council members forever changed the future of Soho, Noho and other surrounding areas.

In the last session of many, lawmakers signed off on new plans for two areas of Manhattan and several other controversial land-use proposals. Because of term limits, most Council members are in their final month.

Below is a summary of the key land use measures adopted Wednesday.

Soho and Noho partition
Compulsory Integrated Housing has long been criticized for targeting only low-income neighborhoods. But in recounting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing legacy, critics will likely point to the end of the administration as an exception.

The zoning of Soho and Noho represents the second such initiative to focus on a predominantly white and affluent area, following partition of Gowanus in Brooklyn. This change allows residential and commercial use in areas already planned for manufacturing.

Although famous as a retail mall, the ground floor Retail is not allowed in most Soho. The zoning change addresses that limitation, but a special permit is still required for retail space larger than 10,000 square feet on narrow streets and 25,000 square feet on wide streets.

Opponents say the new plan will jeopardize historic districts, displacing rent-stabilized tenants and leading to affordable, mostly market-rate housing in neighborhoods. near.

Last week City Council reach an agreement to reduce some commercial and residential densities has been proposed in some neighborhoods. It also eliminated the “option 2” in the inclusion scheme, in which 30% of the apartments in the new projects were reserved for middle-income residents of 80% or less in the area. Other plan options largely require higher affordability.

While there are no city-owned sites in the rezoning area, the mayor – whose last day in office is January 1 – has committed to making building 100 affordable apartments a priority. on a city-owned lot just outside the area, at 388 Hudson Street.

De Blasio also agreed to establish the SoHo/NoHo Art Foundation, which will be supported by payments made by owners converting the Artists’ Coworking Space into condominiums. The city council also passed a bill Wednesday that increases fines for using these units for other purposes without officially converting them. Penalties for the first violation start at $15,000 and $25,000 for each subsequent violation.

River belt



The Two Trees Development project passed the Uniform Land Use Assessment Process in just four months. The Jed Walentas-led company began the process in August, and secured swift approval from Community Council 1, Area President Eric Adams and the City Planning Commission.

Rate of judgment is vital for the River Ring. If it spills into 2022, the developer will have to deal with a new City Council member, Lincoln Restler, who the campaign platform implies he will demand deeper affordability.

Instead, the project will include 1,050 apartments, of which 263 have a permanent sale price. Two Trees also agreed to pay for more than 150 new luxury housing units in the community and provide $1.7 million in funding for neighborhood environmental improvements.

250 Water Street



After a long journey and a few haircuts, Howard Hughes’ project is moving forward. The apartment building, which will rise on a site that was once parking for decades, there will be 270 pieces, of which at least 70 will be affordable. Texas-based developer has commit offers $40 million for 234,630 square feet of air rights from nearby Pier 17 and the Tin Building. The city will dedicate that money and another $10 million of its own to the Seaport Museum.

Opponents cited concerns about extending construction times and removing mercury from the site, which once housed a thermometer factory.

FRESH Expansion
In 2009, the city launched the Health Support Food Retail Expansion Program, offering tax and zoning incentives to incentivize developers to build supermarkets in so-called real deserts. Products. The The program has been applied: Only 28 projects have been approved, and it is likely that some have occurred even without incentives.

The expansion will add 11 counties to the current program. 19. The City Council also adopted some limits on the allowed population growth.

Special license of the hotel

The city council approved this text amendment at its December 9 meeting, but the action was obscured by the Soho and Noho zoning agreement.

New hotels, or expansions of existing hotels by 20 percent or more, must first achieve special license. The policy was rolled out in other parts of the city, including Midtown East, the Apparel District, and areas planned for light manufacturing. In November 2020, City Hall. abandoned its bid to apply a special permit requirement in Union Square, instead of setting its sights on a citywide rule.

Criticize of the plan, including former and current City Planning officials, have argued that it unfairly targets one sector and lacks a sound rationale for land use. It also limits new hotel development at a time when the hospitality industry is still reeling from the pandemic.

The administration objected that amending the text would support “more predictable developments” and limit “the extent to which hotel use may affect future use or development of the property.” around area.”

Accommodation hotels for the homeless, as well as those that were planned before the amendment approved and are ready to be occupied within six years, are exempt from the permit.

ONE litigation challenging the change called the plan a gift to the Hospitality Trade Council, saying it allows the union “to apply political pressure to block hotels with new occupancy restrictions or to require all guests new hotels using union workforce.” This measure is highly prioritized for the labor group. City Council Approves Soho and Noho Rezoning

Dais Johnston

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