Since its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as one of Brooklyn’s foremost industrial hubs, DUMBO has transitioned to a burgeoning, mixed-use community through the adaptive reuse of its historic loft and warehouse buildings with new light industrial, arts, commercial and residential uses. Following the departure of its manufacturing base, in the 1970’s and 1980’s DUMBO became an attractive home to artists who found the large floorplate loft buildings ideal artisan workspaces. Through both private and City initiatives over the last decade, Mixed-Use zoning regulations were introduced to the section of DUMBO between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The mixed-use zoning encouraged private reinvestment that has resulted in the successful transformation of this area into a thriving, mixed-use neighborhood with a variety of shops, markets, offices and arts-related uses comingling aside a new residential population within DUMBO’s rich and unique architectural fabric. The Department of City Planning (DCP) seeks to expand on the success of the mixed-use regulations that have fostered the resurgence of DUMBO to the section of the neighborhood east of the Manhattan Bridge.
In consultation with Community Board 2, local civic groups and elected officials and in coordination with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the Department has developed a rezoning proposal for the section of DUMBO east of the Manhattan Bridge that would allow residential conversion of existing loft buildings and foster new mixed-use construction while providing predictability and height limits that reflect the area’s historic character. It would also, for the first time in DUMBO, provide zoning incentives for the creation of affordable housing in new construction.
To those ends, DCP is proposing to rezone existing M1 and M3 zoning districts to mixed-use zoning districts that would better reflect and preserve the unique character of the neighborhood. The proposed contextual, mixed-use zoning districts --M1-4/R7A and M1-4/R8A. In conjunction with the rezoning, a related zoning text amendment would permit the use of the Inclusionary Housing program which provides incentives and opportunities for the development of affordable housing in DUMBO.
The proposal advances Mayor Bloomberg’s sustainable planning goals by promoting the preservation of neighborhoods with special character while also providing opportunities for modest growth and affordable housing along wide corridors well served by mass transit.