Department of City Planning Shares Draft Zoning Plan for Midtown South 

Press Releases District Advocacy

Mar 8, 2024

Vision for Nearly 4,000 New Homes, including 1,000 Income-Restricted Homes
Plan Would Open Door to Mixed-Use Development and Conversions, Bolster Vital Businesses and Jobs
Builds on Six Months of In-Person and Online Community Input
Scoping Meeting to Take Place April 18 

NEW YORK – New York Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today announced the release of the draft zoning plan for Midtown South, the next step toward a formal land use proposal from the city. Building on six months of community feedback, the draft plan envisions a 24/7 mixed-use neighborhood across 42 Manhattan blocks where housing today is not permitted.

“This centrally-located, transit-rich area should be one of the most exciting, vibrant areas of the city, but outdated zoning is holding it back.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 Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick.

“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, building on their dynamic possibility. The draft planning approach is a huge step in that direction, and I’m grateful to DCP for integrating so much stakeholder feedback into the vision,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I encourage New Yorkers to continue to share their thoughts and help shape the future of Midtown South.”

“This draft plan is a testament to our commitment to the city’s growth and diversity, which weaves new housing opportunities into the rich tapestry of the historic garment industry. We envision a neighborhood in which fashion showrooms, homes, shops, offices, garment manufacturing, and the iconic fashion studios all blend together – creating a safer and more appealing 24/7 neighborhood. Together, we’re stitching a vision of inclusivity and resilience into the very fabric of our community, ensuring that the heart of Manhattan beats stronger,” said New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher.

“The Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan will bring transformational change to central Manhattan and it’s critical we get it right. Today’s release of the draft planning approach provides the public with the opportunity to review the plan in more detail and stay involved. I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to get this rezoning done and generate thousands of urgently needed homes in the heart of Manhattan,” said New York City Councilmember Keith Powers.

Centrally located in Manhattan with easy access to transit and amenities, the area of Midtown South – covering four quadrants between 23rd and 40th Streets and 5th and 8th Avenues – is home to over 7,000 businesses and 135,000 jobs. While the neighborhood has a strong economic base, it faces challenges including shifting work patterns, office and retail vacancies, an aging building stock and decades-old zoning rules that preclude the creation of new housing and limit opportunities for New Yorkers to live close to their jobs.

The Midtown South Mixed-Use (MSMX) Draft Zoning Plan

The MSMX draft zoning plan seeks to address these challenges by permitting new housing, mapping Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements for permanently income-restricted homes, allowing for live-work opportunities, and adopting flexible residential conversion rules. With these changes, the Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan could create nearly 4,000 new homes, of which between 800 and 1,110 would be income-restricted.

To achieve these goals, the draft zoning plan envisions high-density, mixed-use zoning districts that allow not only manufacturing but also commercial and residential uses. This would allow for a range of uses that create much-needed new housing in this central, transit-accessible neighborhood while continuing to enable manufacturing-focused industries. The plan will also craft urban design rules that make sure new developments reflect the existing, beloved loft character of the neighborhood.

These goals and strategies will continue to be refined over the coming months, as the public continues to weigh in with its vision for the area, and as DCP collaborates with stakeholders and partners to refine Midtown South. The draft zoning plan precedes the start of environmental review, which itself precedes the formal ULURP process for an eventual rezoning. DCP will continue to gather input from New Yorkers throughout these stages about how best to create a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, using both zoning and non-zoning tools.

Impact of City of Yes initiatives

Additional income-restricted housing could be created in this neighborhood through City of Yes for Housing Opportunity, a citywide plan to address New York City’s housing shortage. City of Yes for Housing Opportunity proposes Universal Affordability Preference in medium- and high-density districts like Midtown South that would let buildings add about 20% more housing if those additional homes are permanently affordable. The Adams Administration also continues to advocate in Albany for additional tools to unlock much-needed housing in Midtown South and across New York, including tax incentive programs for new mixed-income development and for office conversions, and for the State to lift the arbitrary and outdated “FAR cap” on residential density that caps the allowable residential square footage in New York City at 12 times the lot area.

Alongside residential development, the Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan prioritizes job-generating uses in office, wholesale, manufacturing, and creative sectors. To make it easier for businesses to locate and expand in the area, DCP will align this plan with City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, which the City Planning Commission voted to approve on Wednesday, March 6, and now heads to the City Council for consideration. Finally, as part of MSMX, DCP will work with its partner agencies to improve the public realm and address quality of life concerns.

Planning Process

The MSMX draft zoning plan was based on community input through ongoing public engagement events beginning in October 2023, including a kickoff meeting, seven stakeholder roundtables with residents, business owners, local groups, non-profit organizations and social service providers, one-on-one conversations between New Yorkers and staff, and online tools like an interactive map and survey.

“The Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan is a visionary step towards revitalizing the Garment District,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. “In addition to furthering our district’s transformation into a 24/7 neighborhood, this plan addresses the challenges impacting our community – principally, the critical need for housing – and we look forward to our continued work with the Department of City Planning to bring it to fruition.”

“For Midtown South to flourish in the future, it’s imperative that antiquated zoning rules be updated to allow a more vibrant mix of commercial, manufacturing, and residential uses—particularly affordable housing. We look forward to supporting the Department of City Planning’s community-centered approach to developing a formal rezoning proposal, and working with our neighborhood stakeholders to cultivate a more prosperous Midtown South that benefits all New Yorkers, whether they come here to live, work, or visit,” said James Mettham, President of the Flatiron NoMad Partnership.

Following the release of this draft zoning plan, DCP will conduct environmental review on the proposal. On Thursday, April 18, DCP will hold a scoping meeting, where the public can weigh in on the issues to be studied in the environmental review. DCP will continue to share the draft approach and gather feedback from New Yorkers over the coming months before starting the formal public review process by the end of 2024.

To sign up for the scoping meeting or to learn more about the Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan, visit

Header & Thumbnail Photo CreditMidtown South Mixed-Use Plan

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