Rezoning of 25 blocks in North Tribeca moves forward

Proposal would establish new height and bulk regulations in northern portion of Special Tribeca Mixed Use District. On September 15, 2010, the City Planning Commission approved the Department of City Planning’s North Tribeca Rezoning proposal. The 25-block rezoning area is generally bounded by Canal Street to the north, Walker and Hubert Streets to the south, Broadway to the east, and West Street to the west. The plan would impact the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District’s A4, B1, and B2 subareas. It would replace the area’s existing M1-5 manufacturing zoning with a C6-2A commercial mixed-use district and create new special district subareas that better reflect northern Tribeca’s increasingly residential and commercial character.

North Tribeca was primarily a manufacturing district characterized by industrial and warehouse buildings, with limited residential uses. As the industrial base declined in the 1960s and 70s, vacant buildings attracted new residential and commercial tenants. The City in 1976 created the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District to establish zoning rules that permitted controlled residential uses to coexist with light manufacturing uses. The special district applied flexible residential use regulations to the southern portion of Tribeca, but prohibited new residential development in North Tribeca in order to preserve its industrial character.

In recent years, however, the Commission and the Board of Standards & Appeals have approved new residential developments and residential conversions of non-manufacturing buildings in the neighborhood. The City in 2006 approved a private developer’s proposal to rezone a four-block portion of North Tribeca, along Washington and West Streets, to facilitate the construction of a commercial and residential building. The proposal also designated the area as the special district’s new A4 general mixed-use subarea. 3 CityLand 117 (Sept. 15, 2006).

Residential and commercial uses are now prevalent in North Tribeca and many of the area’s manufacturing buildings are underutilized or vacant. Planning’s proposal would apply new height and bulk regulations to reflect North Tribeca’s changed character and to ensure that new residential and commercial development matches the area’s existing scale.

The majority of North Tribeca comprises the special district’s B1 and B2 subareas, which are zoned M1-5. Planning’s proposal would rezone the blocks within these subareas to C6-2A, which permits new residential and commercial development. The B1 and B2 subareas would be replaced with new A5, A6, and A7 subareas. Each new subarea would include distinct bulk and building height regulations to correspond to the subtle variations in building types across the subarea. The Inclusionary Housing Program would apply to the A6 subarea.

The A4 subarea is zoned C6-3A along West Street and C6-2A along Washington Street. The proposal would reduce the subarea to include only West Street, and its Washington Street portion would be subsumed by the new A5 subarea.

At the Commission’s hearing, representatives from Manhattan Community Board 1 and Borough President Scott Stringer’s office expressed support. Jennifer Hong, a senior planner from Stringer’s office, noted that the rezoning would create a more comprehensive approach to North Tribeca’s development by reducing the use of caseby- case discretionary approvals. The Commission unanimously approved the rezoning.

The City Council has until November 18, 2010 to review the plan.

CPC: North Tribeca Rezoning and Text Amendment (C 100369 ZMM – rezoning); (N 100370(A) ZRM – text amend.) (Sept. 15, 2010).

CITYLAND Comment: The Council’s Zoning & Franchise Subcommittee approved the rezoning at an October 5 hearing, and the full Council is expected to vote on the plan at its October 13 meeting.

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