Press Releases

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2019

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

City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Brewer and Council Member Chin Announce Launch of SoHo and NoHo Public Engagement Process

Six-month series of public meetings and consultation with local stakeholders will outline a vision for the future of SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods

NEW YORK- Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin today announced the launch of a public engagement process to inform future planning efforts in the Manhattan neighborhoods of SoHo and NoHo.

Beginning in early 2019 and continuing through the spring, DCP, the Borough President, and the Council Member will convene a series of public sessions to hear from the local community on topics including housing, jobs, retail, and creative industries. The first public meeting is set for Wednesday, February 6, with time and location to follow.

“Every neighborhood in our city is unique – but none more so than SoHo and NoHo. These neighborhoods share a long, fascinating history of being filled with manufacturers, artists, residents, offices, shops and restaurants, all along charming historic streets. But, like all neighborhoods, SoHo and NoHo face unique challenges, not the least of which is outdated zoning. To make sure that these neighborhoods remain a dynamic place for people to work, create, shop and live, we are pleased to be working with Borough President Brewer, Council Member Chin and the community on a collaborative planning process,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

“The SoHo / NoHo area has a rich, vibrant history, but we need to fix its zoning to lay the foundation for its future,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “As the old rules have stopped working, the area has seen a steady march of special exemptions, one-off variances, and inappropriately large retail uses. SoHo and NoHo need room for creativity, artists, artisans, workshops, and tech. A comprehensive look at the neighborhood’s zoning that incorporates input from all stakeholders will help us chart a better path forward.”

“The SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods are among the most culturally and economically vibrant in our City,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Throughout the next six months, I, Borough President Brewer, and DCP Director Lago will be working with various stakeholders in these two communities to ensure that any future planning for these neighborhoods will take into account their unique and dynamic nature. I look forward to engaging with community activists, business leaders, and residents as we build a bold vision for SoHo and NoHo.”

In consultation with stakeholders, insights and findings from the public discussions will be distilled into a report. The report will express values and community priorities for the future of SoHo and NoHo. The report, which is expected to be released this summer, will be compiled in direct consultation with a 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

In preparation for the public engagement process, DCP, working together with the Borough President’s Office and Council Member Chin’s Office, assessed existing neighborhood conditions and zoning issues in SoHo and NoHo. This initial research shows that the existing manufacturing district zoning, established nearly five decades ago in 1971 to balance the needs of a declining manufacturing sector and the artist community, presents increasing challenges to the continued vitality of the neighborhoods, and that thoughtful, comprehensive planning can strengthen them for generations to come.   

SoHo is generally bounded by Houston Street to the north, Canal Street to the south, West Broadway and Avenue of the Americas to the west, and Lafayette, Centre and Baxter Streets to the east. NoHo is generally bounded by Astor Place to the north, Houston Street to the south, Broadway to the west, and Bowery to the east. 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 46,000 jobs principally in office, retail, accommodation, food, and other non-industrial sectors;
  • Major creative centers: 25% of total jobs in the creative industries;
  • Major economic drivers: SoHo’s retail sector ranks second citywide, and 10th nationally.

A website with information on the planning process will be launched soon at

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.