M1 districts range from the Garment District in Manhattan and Port Morris in the Bronx with multistory lofts, to parts of Red Hook or College Point with one- or two-story warehouses characterized by loading bays. M1 districts are often buffers between M2 or M3 districts and adjacent residential or commercial districts. M1 districts typically include light industrial uses, such as woodworking shops, repair shops, and wholesale service and storage facilities. Nearly all industrial uses are allowed in M1 districts if they meet the stringent M1 performance standards. Offices, hotels and most retail uses are also permitted. Certain community facilities, such as hospitals, are allowed in M1 districts only by special permit, but houses of worship are allowed as-of-right.
Other than M1 districts paired with residence districts in Special Mixed Use Districts, M1-5M and M1-6M districts (by special permit) and M1-D districts (by authorization or certification) are the only manufacturing districts in which residences are permitted. However, in M1-6D districts, residential use may be allowed as-of-right on zoning lots under certain conditions.
In M1-5M and M1-6M districts, mapped in parts of Chelsea, space in an industrial building may be converted to residential use, provided a specified amount of floor area is preserved for particular industrial and commercial uses.
Floor area ratios in M1 districts range from 1.0 to 10.0, depending on location; building height and setbacks are controlled by a sky exposure plane which may be penetrated by a tower in certain districts. Although new industrial buildings are usually low-rise structures that fit within sky exposure plane, commercial and community facility buildings can be constructed as towers in M1-3 through M1-6 districts. In the highest density manufacturing district, M1-6, mapped only in Manhattan, an FAR of 12 can be achieved with a bonus for a public plaza. Except along district boundaries, no side yards are required. Rear yards at least 20 feet deep are usually required, except within 100 feet of a corner.
Parking and loading requirements vary with district and use. M1-1, M1-2 and M1-3 districts are subject to parking requirements based on the type of use and size of an establishment. For example, a warehouse in an M1-1 district requires one off-street parking space per 2,000 square feet of floor area or per every three employees, whichever would be less. Parking is not required in Long Island City or M1-4, M1-5 and M1-6 districts, mapped mainly in Manhattan. Requirements for loading berths of specified dimensions differ according to district, size and type of use.