By Roland Li
The Department of City Planning has initiated a public review for a new zoning district that would allow residential development among older Class B and C office buildings.
The effort is meant to foster mixed-use areas that encourage retail and commercial tenants that include new media, architecture firms and the arts, according to City Planning. The public review coincides with the review of the creation of such a district south of Penn Station.
“Adding a measure of residential development to these business districts can foster a more lively working environment while preserving and protecting existing office space and distinctive building stock,” said Amanda Burden, City Planning commissioner, in a statement.
The new zoning district, designated M1-6D, would allow residential developments of less than 50,000 s/f, with additional density for buildings with a 20% affordable housing component. The conversion of commercial buildings over 50,000 s/f into residential would be prohibited, and any such commercial buildings that were demolished would require the developer to replace the existing office or manufacturing s/f, in order to preserve office stock.
Demolitions would be prohibited in occupied commercial loft buildings, and hotels with over 100 rooms would be allowable only with a special permit. Zoning would require 50% retail space in lots of over 50 feet of street frontage, and would limit building heights to a maximum of 210 feet on narrow streets and 290 feet on wide streets.
Developer Edison Properties is seeking a rezoning of two blocks spanning West 28th and 30th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in order to build 407 residential units, with around 20% of the units designated affordable housing. Officials at Edison weren’t immediately available for comment.
The application, along with the proposed new zoning district, will be reviewed in a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure by Manhattan Community Board 5, the borough president, City Planning and the City Council.