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Raising the Ground Floor Roof

Perhaps the most significant piece of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability amendment is the new allowance of an extra five feet of ground floor height for many buildings.

The extra five feet serves two purposes. Residential units can elevate five feet giving ground floor tenants extra privacy, security and allowing for planting. For commercial districts, the extra five feet allows higher ceilings, appealing to a wider variety of retail tenants.

Which districts qualify for the extra five feet? It’s a bit convoluted. First, the extra five feet does not apply to Manhattan Core. The Manhattan Core is defined as the southern tip at The Battery to West 110th Street on the west side and East 96th Street on the east side.

The five-foot rule applies to both commercial and residential districts, contextual and non-contextual in what the ZQA calls qualifying ground floors.

For non-contextual residential districts outside the Manhattan Core, the extra ground floor five feet in height applies to R6, R7, R8 and R10 districts on wide streets.

In contextual districts the extra ground floor five feet applies to R5D, R6B, R6A, R7A, R7X, R8A, R8X, R9X and R10A and commercial districts (C1 and C2) mapped within those residential districts.

To qualify, buildings in these contextual districts must meet the 13 foot height requirement, story limit and supplemental ground floor provisions in Zoning Resolution 23-662 (b) and 35-652 (b).

Questions about the ZQA or any other zoning matter? Contact Outsource Consultants here.