Port Morris is a mixed use (light industrial, commercial
and residential) neighborhood located across from
Manhattan between the Harlem/East Rivers and the
Major Deegan Expressway. In 1997, the City Planning
Commission (CPC) established the city's first mixed-use
district, known as the Port Morris Special Mixed
Use District, in a five-block area along Bruckner
Boulevard in Bronx Community District 1. The new
zoning was a catalyst for strengthening the area’s
emerging antique businesses and for revitalizing
the upper floors of buildings. The success to date
of that rezoning is evident in the number of residential
units reactivated, renovated or converted and the
new ground floor retail and exhibit spaces created.
The Department of City Planning (DCP) is now proposing
to extend the Port Morris mixed use district to
eleven surrounding blocks. The area to be rezoned
is generally bounded by Park Avenue to the west,
Willow Avenue to the east, East 134th Street to
the north and the Harlem River/Harlem River Yards
to the south. The existing
manufacturing zoning on these blocks permits only
industrial and commercial uses. The proposed mixed
use zoning district would also allow for residential
use and community facilities.
The area surrounding the existing Special Mixed Use
District lends itself to an increase in residential
and commercial activity. More than one-third of the
lots in the study area are vacant or underutilized,
and warehouse space is already being converted into
lofts for non-industrial commercial uses. Mixed use
zoning would continue to allow existing light manufacturing
uses as well as new ones. And, by permitting use
of vacant buildings for residential and commercial
use in an area so close to Manhattan, the proposed
zoning would help transform Port Morris into a true
gateway to the Bronx.
The proposed zoning would:
Industrial Building Recently Converted
for Non-Industrial Uses
- • Build on the success of the 1997 rezoning
As a result of the special district established in 1997, approximately 42 rowhouses
have been rehabilitated, 36 new residential units have been created or reactivated
on upper floors of buildings, 50 lofts in the former Estey Piano Factory
have already been converted and 100 more are expected by the end of 2004,
and new ground floor retail and exhibit spaces have opened.
• Reflect the current mixed-use character
of the area
The area has historically been a mixed use neighborhood
with residential, commercial, and light industrial
uses, and that trend has continued as manufacturing
left the area.
• Bring new uses to underutilized land and buildings
Many of the lots in the study area that are vacant
or underutilized (as parking lots or open storage
facilities) and the buildings that are partially
or entirely vacant have remained so for decades,
due in part to the mismatch between market demand
and the limited land uses permitted under the
existing residences to become conforming uses
Approximately one-third (44) of the 129 lots
in the proposed rezoning area are occupied by
residential buildings, which do not conform with
existing zoning. Non-conformance can make it
difficult to obtain home improvement loans, and
any residence left vacant for two years or more
cannot return to residential use. The proposed
zoning would eliminate this non-conformance and
enable vacant units to be reactivated.
• Further the citys housing initiative
Mixed-use zoning would allow residential uses
to be developed as-of-right and encourage underutilized
sites to be developed more productively, helping
to achieve the city’s goal of increased
• Focus on improved waterfront access
Although the Harlem River runs along the western
edge of the rezoning area, the waterfront is
inaccessible to nearby residents. New residential
and mixed use development on the waterfront can
open up the waterfront and, in a separate study,
DCP is examining options for waterfront access
and improved connections to the upland community.
• Create a vibrant 24/7 neighborhood
With added residents, workers and the shops and services to support them, streets
would become livelier and the sense of community would grow in Port Morris.
On October 4, 2004, the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for the Port Morris/Bruckner Boulevard rezoning to begin the formal public review process. On October 28, 2004 Community Board 1 approved the application. On November 12, 2004, the Bronx Borough President issued a recommendation in favor of the rezoning. The City Planning Commission held public hearings on the application on December 8, 2004 and on January 19, 2005. On January 31, 2005 the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning and referred it to the City Council to vote on the proposal. (Read the CPC Report). On March 9, 2005 the City Council adopted the zoning changes which are now in effect.
For more information on the Port Morris/Bruckner
Boulevard Rezoning, please contact the Bronx Office of the Department of City
Planning at (718) 220-8500.
accompanied by this symbol require the free
Adobe Acrobat Reader.