High street wall on north side
of 17th Street
Parking lot on 22nd Street.
High street wall on south side
of 20th Street.
The rezoning area is dominated by loft buildings
with high street walls constructed during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – prior to the
adoption of the 1916 zoning ordinance. These
buildings are generally 100 to 150 feet in
height and are constructed to their full heights
at the lot line without setbacks. Interspersed
among these loft buildings are one- to six-
story commercial buildings, and a number of former
row houses. The area also contains several parking
lots on sites once occupied by
buildings that have either been demolished or
destroyed. Significantly, there has been little
new construction in the rezoning area since
the adoption of the 1916 zoning ordinance and
no new construction of manufacturing space in
the area in over forty years.
In the early 1980s, the area was rezoned from M1-6
to M1-6M in recognition of the rapid decline of manufacturing activities and
the increasing prevalence of residential conversions. The M-suffix was added
to guide the transition of the area from a manufacturing center to a mixed
use commercial and residential area. Today, the area contains a mix of commercial,
institutional and residential uses with a small number of remaining manufacturers.
Three percent of the jobs in the area are in the manufacturing sector, representing
a 46 percent decline since 1990.
The decline in manufacturing uses has been balanced
over the past three decades by increases in commercial, retail and residential
uses. Today, almost 70 percent of the occupied building area is used for office,
retail and other commercial activity, and about 6 percent is devoted to wholesale
uses. Most of the commercial uses are services, with approximately half being
media related, such as advertising, film, graphic design, photo, computer services
and digital printing.
Approximately 11 percent of the space is used by community
facilities. The balance contains the area’s approximately 340 occupied
dwelling units. These include units occupied prior to 1961, Interim Multiple
Dwelling Units designated by the Loft Board, units converted through a Board
of Standards and Appeals (BSA) variance, and units permitted through certification
by the City Planning Commission. Much of the residential space is located on
individual floors of buildings that have substantial non-residential occupancies,
reflecting the rules governing conversions pursuant to M1-6M zoning controls.
STUDY AREA LAND USE
NOTE: Percentages based on square footage
of occupied building area
The current mix of uses in the neighborhood indicates
that the M1-6M zoning district has undergone a transition from one dominated
by manufacturing to one with extensive office and retail use and a significant
residential presence. M1-6M controls have not, however, encouraged the most
appropriate use of currently undeveloped land because the regulations allow
new construction for only manufacturing and commercial purposes, neither of
which is economically feasible on the available development sites. Because
of this, undeveloped sites have remained as parking lots for
decades despite the area’s increased popularity, central location,
and excellent access to public transportation.