The city is seeking to rezone SoHo and NoHo, claiming it will make these neighborhoods more diverse and affordable, as well as allow new development that is in scale and character for the neighborhood. In fact, it will do just the opposite to the proposed rezoning area, which includes parts of Chinatown — encouraging the demolition of hundreds of units of affordable rent-regulated apartments, housing largely lower-income and disproportionately senior and Asian-American residents, allowing wildly out-of-scale new structures (up to two-and-a-half times the size current rules allow, and 20% larger than allowed on Billionaire’s Row in Midtown), pushing out independent businesses and arts groups by allowing big-box chain stores of unlimited size.
Analysis has also shown the plan would make these neighborhoods wealthier, less diverse, and more expensive than they are now, and would generate little if any of the promised affordable housing due to multiple glaring loopholes in the plan. Local community and tenant groups have coalesced around a community-driven alternative rezoning proposal that would reform outdated provisions of the current zoning, and calls for deeper and more broadly affordable new housing, without the oversized big box chain stores, luxury condos, boutique offices and hotels, and private university development the Mayor’s plan includes, and without the incentives for demolition of existing rent regulated housing (over 700 units in the rezoning area).
The Mayor’s proposal is currently undergoing the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) process with a final decision before the end of the year.