The draft plan marks the first step toward a formal land use proposal from the city for 42 Manhattan blocks where housing is currently restricted.

midtown south plan

NYC Planning

A rendering of the areas targeted by proposal, which would look to spur new housing where residential development is currently restricted.

The New York Department of City Planning (DCP) unveiled its draft zoning plan for Midtown South Friday, marking the first step toward a formal land use proposal for 42 Manhattan blocks where housing is currently restricted.

The draft plan, informed by six months of community input from various stakeholders, hopes to create nearly 4,000 new homes in four “quadrants” located between 23rd and 40th streets and 5th and 8th avenues. Between 800 and 1,110 of the new units would be income-restricted, roughly 25 percent—a move to address the city’s pressing need for affording housing.

“This centrally-located, transit-rich area should be one of the most exciting, vibrant areas of the city, but outdated zoning is holding it back. Thanks to this community-focused planning approach, the future of Midtown South is looking bright,” said City Planning Director Daniel Garodnick in a news release accompanying the proposal.

In a statement, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine expressed support for the plan, emphasizing its potential to breathe new life into the neighborhood, which is home to an aging building stock and office and retail vacancies exacerbated by “shifting work patterns,” since the pandemic, the city said.

“The Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan will not only build housing that our city desperately needs, but it will also reinvigorate some of Manhattan’s most central, opportunity-rich neighborhoods,” Levine commented.

NYC Planning

A map of the four “quadrants” which would be rezoned under the plan.

The draft plan outlines high-density, mixed-use zoning districts to accommodate a range of residential, commercial, and manufacturing uses, but would ensure new developments complement the existing “loft character of the neighborhood,” according to a press release.

Officials say  even more income-restricted housing could be created in the area if combined with one of the benefits of Mayor Eric Adams’ City of Yes for Housing Opportunity, which  proposes a “Universal Affordability Preference” in medium- and high-density districts like Midtown South. It would enable developers to add 20 percent more housing to a project if those additional units are permanently affordable.

To gather further input and refine the plan, DCP will conduct an environmental review and hold a scoping meeting on April 18, where the public can weigh in on key issues. 

The formal public review process is slated to begin by the end of 2024.

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