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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > Ladies' Miles Rezoning Printer Friendly Version
Ladies' Mile Rezoning - Approved!
Land Use and Neighborhood Character
Objectives | Land Use & Neighborhood Character | Existing Zoning | Proposed Zoning
17th Street
High street wall on north side of 17th Street
Parking Lot
Parking lot on 22nd Street.
20th 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 - Chart

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.

Objectives | Land Use & Neighborhood Character | Existing Zoning | Proposed Zoning

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