Press Releases

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2019

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Brewer and Council Member Chin Release Envision SoHo/NoHo Report

Document provides overview of engagement process and issues recommendations for future planning work to address challenges in these neighborhoods

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Margaret Chin today announced the release of the Envision SoHo/NoHo report , the result of the six-month long community engagement series.

“Home to artists and entrepreneurs, shoppers and makers, SoHo and NoHo are among New York City’s most historic mixed-use neighborhoods. With an eye to creating affordable housing, cleaning up outdated zoning codes and ensuring that these communities thrive for decades to come, residents, property owners, retailers, advocates and local elected officials all weighed in on this report, which is aimed at guiding future planning work. I urge you to read it so that together we can continue to plan for an inclusive future for SoHo and NoHo,” DCP Director Marisa Lago said.

“The SoHo/NoHo area has a rich and vibrant history, but it’s clear that work needs to be done to lay the foundation for its future,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I want to thank everyone who took part in our comprehensive look at the neighborhood’s zoning, and look forward to continuing to listen to the community and stakeholders as we plan any next steps.”

“For six months, community leaders, local artists, property and business owners, elected officials and city agencies came together to chart out a future for two of New York’s most iconic neighborhoods—SoHo and NoHo,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Our collective efforts are reflected in this report, but the conversation does not end with its publication. I will continue to engage all the stakeholders as we explore the potential next steps for SoHo and NoHo together.”

The report provides a detailed overview of the engagement process, reflecting the variety of stakeholder voices and perspectives who participated, and puts forward recommendations to help guide future planning work centered around improving quality of life, addressing housing issues, and supporting the mixed-use character of these storied neighborhoods.

The Envision SoHo/NoHo report’s recommendations are organized around three overarching principles:

  1. Improve quality of life for residents and workers
  2. Encourage neighborhood diversity by strengthening and enforcing existing protections for residents, promoting artist and maker communities, allowing people to live in SoHo/NoHo without artist certifications, and creating affordable housing and live/work opportunities that respect neighborhood character
  3. Promote economic vitality through preserving, promoting and creating more spaces and uses for arts, makers and culture, as well as foster small business by reducing regulatory barriers and providing supportive resources

The report’s recommendations grew out of input and feedback gathered between January and June this year at a series of engagement events and through online platforms, including six public meetings and workshops, six focus group discussions, 18 Advisory Group work sessions, as well as a SoHo/NoHo engagement website.

The report also incorporates comments received at the public meeting held on June 13, where preliminary findings of the engagement process were first shared.

For context, the report includes information and data on SoHo/NoHo’s history, architectural and cultural assets, land use, economic and demographic snapshots, and articulates the opportunities and challenges SoHo and NoHo face as neighborhoods and mixed-use communities.

The report was compiled by engagement facilitator Jonathan Martin, in direct consultation with a local stakeholder group that includes residents, arts and culture organizations, businesses and property owners, and historic preservation advocates. They are:

  • Broadway Residents Coalition
  • Cooper Square Committee
  • Cooper Union
  • Council Member Rivera
  • Landmarks Conservancy
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
  • Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
  • Manhattan Community Board 2
  • New York University
  • NoHo Business Improvement District
  • NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders
  • NoHo Neighborhood Association
  • NYC Loft Tenants
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • SoHo Alliance
  • SoHo Broadway Initiative (BID)
  • SoHo Design District
  • Speaker Johnson

For immediate next steps, City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Brewer and Council Member Chin, sponsors of the engagement process, will attend Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting in January to continue the public dialogue. Time, location and additional information on the next public meeting will be posted online and publicized.

The purpose of the engagement process, and “why now?”

SoHo and NoHo are dynamic mixed-use neighborhoods with an established residential population, strong office markets with growing creative firms, and one of the city’s strongest retail centers. At the same time, the existing zoning, established nearly five decades ago to balance the needs of a declining manufacturing sector and a growing artist community, presents challenges to the continued vitality of these historic neighborhoods.

Today, the two neighborhoods are: 

  • Home to about 8,000 New Yorkers, representing a more significant residential presence than in typical manufacturing districts;
  • Home to more than 51,000 jobs principally in office, retail, accommodation, food, and other non-industrial sectors;
  • Major creative centers: over 25% of total jobs in the creative industries;
  • Major economic drivers: SoHo’s retail sector ranks second citywide in annual sales, and 10th nationally.

The intent of the SoHo/NoHo public engagement process is to strategize and collaborate on crafting ideas that address on-the-ground challenges faced by businesses and residents of these two historic Manhattan neighborhoods, while enhancing and preserving neighborhood assets.

Highlights of earlier public engagement sessions and more information on the SoHo/NoHo initiative can be found in press releases available here, as well as at