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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > Upper West Side Printer Friendly Version
Special Enhanced Commercial District
Upper West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets
- Approved!
Existing Context


Enhanced Commercial District
The proposal includes two Enhanced Commercial District subareas EC-2, mapped along Amsterdam and Columbus avenues generally between 73rd and 110th streets on Amsterdam, and 73rd and 87th streets on Columbus, and EC-3, mapped along Broadway between 72nd and 110th streets.

The land use and population characteristics of the Upper West Side make this area's healthy retail balance delicate and susceptible to change. The retail balance within the proposed area is very much dependent on the built environment. Broadway, Amsterdam and Columbus supply the vast majority of commercial square footage that serve an extremely dense residential community in the surrounding streets and avenues.

Amsterdam and Columbus are characterized by buildings dating from 1900 to the 1920s with narrow lobbies and small retail spaces on the ground floor. There is a diverse mix of retail, with numerous bars and restaurants, small gift and apparel shops, and local services and offices catering to the residential population. Over the years, Broadway has attracted larger retail, commercial, and residential developments that are an appropriate fit for the corridor's wide street and higher-density zoning.

At the same time, in an area where commercial demand has historically been relatively high, a growing residential population has placed greater demand for local goods and services. Although the historical character along all three avenues remains generally intact and the area remains a strong model for commercial streets citywide, businesses entering the neighborhood today are able to assemble multiple storefronts and carve out a single, larger space along the primary commercial street. These trends have threatened the historic local retail character on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues that has greatly contributed to the area's popularity and success. The proposed text amendment seeks to preserve the existing retail and commercial character of the Upper West Side by regulating street frontage on Amsterdam and Columbus Avnues and banks on Broadway. In addition, it would mandate a minimum amount of transparency in new buildings to ensure an active and dynamic pedestrian experience.


New mixed use residential building with two floors commercial uses on west side of Broadway between 94th and 95th streets.
New mixed use residential building with two floors commercial uses on west side of Broadway between 94th and 95th streets.
Mixed use building with ground floor bank with significant frontage on east side of Columbus Avenue between 75th and 76th streets.
Mixed use building with ground floor bank with significant frontage on east side of Columbus Avenue between 75th and 76th streets.
Mixed use rowhouse building with ground floor commercial on west side of Columbus Avenue between 79th and 80th streets.
Mixed use rowhouse building with ground floor commercial on west side of Columbus Avenue between 79th and 80th streets.
Mixed use rowhouse buildings with ground floor commercial on west side of Amsterdam between 84th and 85th streets.
Mixed use rowhouse buildings with ground floor commercial on west side of Amsterdam between 84th and 85th streets.


Commercial Overlay
Commercial uses on the ground floor of Columbus between 76th and 77th streets where a C1-5 overlay is proposed.
Commercial uses on the ground floor of Columbus between 76th and 77th streets where a C1-5 overlay is proposed.
The Department of City Planning is proposing mapping a C1-5 commercial overlay along 100' of the west side of Columbus Avenue from 77th and 76th street. This portion of the block is currently zoned R10A with no overlay. There are currently two retail establishments on this portion of the block one restaurant and one clothing retailer. The uses are consistent with the ground floor uses along the rest of the block, and in the general area. The mapping of a commercial overlay recognizes the existing land use on the block and permits the application of the proposed EC-2 (Amsterdam Avenue generally between 73rd and 110th streets and Columbus Avenue generally between 72nd and 87th streets) special provisions to this half-block.



Existing Zoning
Existing Zoning Map
Existing Zoning Map
PDF Document View a larger image.
The proposed EC-2 area encompasses 77 blockfronts along Amsterdam and Columbus currently zoned C2-7A, R10A, R10A/C1-5, R10A/C2-5, C1-9, C2-8, R8/C1-5, R8A/C2-5, R9/C1-5, and C1-8A. The proposed EC-3 area encompasses 73 blockfronts along Broadway currently zoned C4-6A, R9A/C1-5, and C2-8A.

The blocks zoned R9A/C1-5 and C2-8A along Broadway between 97th street and 110th street were rezoned in 2007 as part of the Department's Upper West Side contextual rezoning (C 070427 ZMM).

The blocks along Amsterdam and Columbus to which the proposed EC-2 would be applied are currently zoned R8/C1-5, R8A/C1-5, R8A/C2-5, R9/C1-5, R10A, R10A/C1-5, R10A/C2-5, C1-8A, C1-9, C2-7A and C2-8. The blocks along Broadway to which the proposed EC-3 would be applied are currently zoned R9A/C1-5, C2-8A and C4-6A.

The Department of City Planning also proposes mapping a C1-5 commercial overlay on the west side of Columbus Avenue to the middle of the block between 77th and 76th streets, to a length of 100' from 77th and to a depth of 100'. The area is currently zoned R10A with no overlay. The R10A would remain unchanged.







Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.
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