The Middle Child of Rezoning: 125th Street
November 28th, 2007

In the midst of the City Planning Commission’s approval of both Columbia University’s plan and the community’s plan for the Manhattanville area of Harlem, another rezoning proposal for the area has received much less attention. The planning commission has proposed a wholesale rezoning around the famous 125th Street strip. It would affect 124th Street to 126th Street and span from Broadway to Second Avenue in an attempt to foster the arts, create more housing and enhance the area’s “regional business-district character.”

In the beginning of October, the plan – over a year in the making – entered the public review period. While it has garnered a warm welcoming, it is not without its critics. 125th Street is going to be a larger mess tomorrow than it is today. City Planning has got to realize that planning is about more than rezoning, Community Board 9 member Walter South told the Columbia Spectator this week.

Many of those involved have all praised the commission’s goal of fostering the arts by creating a cultural district for the area. But many are concerned the plan doesn’t go far enough. Both Community Board 9 and the Municipal Arts Society have lamented the plan’s lack of connection to the waterfront. Community Board 10 wants the cultural district to be expanded (the plan affects three boards). And all of these organizations, with the addition of Community Board 11, are concerned that the plan doesn’t have enough affordable housing. The plan estimates that 500 of the expected 2,500 apartments created will be affordable. But the Municipal Arts Society is concerned that the incentives the commission offers may fall short of that goal, and the boards all want a higher percentage.

By on November 28, 2007, 12:31 pm
In category: Community Development,Land Use | 6 Comments »

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6 Responses to “The Middle Child of Rezoning: 125th Street”

  1. A Warm Welcome? Says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    What a curious characterization of the reception to this plan in Harlem. I attended both community board meetings held by CB10 with regards to this plan. Both were filled with Harlem residents VEHEMENTLY opposed to this plan. No supporters made themselves heard. The city plans to turn 125th into a canyon of high-rise luxury condominiums. Your characterization of the affordable housing included in the plan is completely misleading: the creation of affordable housing is an OPTION for developers. It is not required.

    There is a deficit of low-income housing in Harlem. So why does the city want to build more luxury housing for rich people? The plan will increase the residential capacity of 125th street by 750%. Poor and middle income New Yorkers are not accounted for.

    Bad reporting like this means this plan will coast through the ULURP process. There is no warm welcome for this plan. If you’d attended the meetings (instead of quoting from a college newspaper), you’d know this!

  2. Mike Muller Says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 4:45 am

    I’m sorry you didn’t like the piece, but I think some of your comments are unfounded. My post states that the affordable housing goal would be reached through incentives, not mandates. And although I did not attend the meetings, the links I provide show a measure of praise for the goals of plan, including the official position of Community Board 10. But the links also include all of their criticisms, which you are free to browse.

    However, I made an adjustment to the piece, which you can see above. And the link to Community Board 11 was fixed.

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