Zoning Restrictions – Beware

An article in the New York Times on August 24, 2017 bemoaned the high rents and vacant storefronts in SoHo. Retail rents soared between 2010 and 2014 by 90%, far above other areas of Manhattan. The area became a hub of large flagship stores, such as the 55,000 square foot Nike store on Broadway and Spring Street. Local residents, block associations, and even elected officials were not so happy about that, wanting instead to retain their vision of SoHo with low-scale buildings, artists’ lofts, and small independent retailers. Towards that end, there are special zoning restrictions in SoHo that limit the size of stores to no more than 10,000 square feet. There are also specific zoning restrictions in SoHo and other parts of the City that limit the size of eating and drinking establishments. The Zoning Resolution limits eating drinking establishments in M1-5A and M1-5B districts to 5,000 square feet. Other portions of the Resolution limit other areas to 3,500 square feet. Be aware of these restrictions if you are planning to open a restaurant or bar, and speak with a zoning expert.