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SoHo NoHo Historic District Under Threat

Mayor de Blasio’s plan to upzone SoHo/NoHo takes another step when Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer holds her hearing on the project next Monday night. Click here if you want to watch or testify. Thoughtful local groups have shown how to modify the plan to create affordable housing, make it easier to do business, and legalize residential use, without upzoning the historic core. The City has shown no signs of compromise.

Looking down Broadway, SoHo

Proponents insist this is all about creating affordable housing. In the more than two years we’ve been involved in plans for SoHo/NoHo, no one has opposed affordable housing. But virtually everyone recognizes the value of the historic districts and wants to protect them.

The current plan could double the size of buildings within the historic districts without even creating affordable apartments. The unique character of the area has helped make it an economic engine for the City attracting residents and tourists. It makes no sense to threaten the economic recovery by damaging the area’s prime asset.

The City’s plan acknowledges that most “affordable” units would likely be built in areas outside the historic districts. Under the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) plan, developers have to build three “luxury” units in order to create one that is “affordable.” So upscale housing will dominate. Developers could easily skip MIH requirements and build commercial buildings. There is no plan to protect current affordable units.

Citizens stopped Robert Moses from destroying Soho/Noho with a highway years ago. We should not let Mayor de Blasio destroy it now.

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