Harlem River Waterfront

The Bronx Harlem River waterfront north of the Metro North Bridge.
The Bronx Harlem River waterfront north of the Metro North Bridge.
Update: December 11, 2017 – Approved
On December 11, 2017, the NYC City Council approved the Special Harlem River Waterfront District Expansion with modifications to several elements of the proposal, including adding an authorization to modify a street line provision and removing vesting provisions, among other minimal text clarifications and corrections.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing to modify and expand the Special Harlem River Waterfront District (SHRWD) and waterfront access plan (WAP).  The project area is generally bounded by the 149th Street to the north, Exterior Street to the east, Lincoln Avenue to the south and the Harlem River to the west. It is located in Community Board 1. DCP’s work will continue the momentum of local initiatives and build on existing partnerships with local organizations and advocates. The work will result in:

  1. Amendments to the SHRWD regulations to support appropriate resiliency measures and changes to bulk regulations to meet the special district goals;
  2. An expansion of the special district and WAP to the south between Park Avenue and Lincoln Avenue to respond to unique conditions in the area affecting open space, circulation, bulk, and resiliency;
  3. Resiliency guidelines and best practices for development on the Harlem River waterfront.

The Lower Concourse and Port Morris waterfronts have a mix of industrial and commercial uses including self-storage and warehouses. The area is accessible via the Major Deegan Expressway, the 145th Street Bridge, the Third Avenue Bridge, and the Metro North Bridge. Lincoln Hospital and Hostos Community College are two prominent community facilities located to the east, and the Bronx Terminal Market shopping mall is just to the north of 149th Street. The 104-acre Harlem River Yard Transportation and Distribution Center is located in Port Morris along the Harlem River and Bronx Kill south of Lincoln Avenue. The area is well served by transit with three stations on the 2, 4, 5 and 6 lines.

In 2005, DCP rezoned PDF Document Bruckner Boulevard in Port Morris to permit mixed use (industrial and residential), building on a 1997 rezoning that established the first Mixed Use district in the city. In 2009, DCP rezoned a broader 30-block area surrounding the lower end of the Grand Concourse and mapped a waterfront park, established a WAP, applied Inclusionary Zoning regulations to the area to promote affordable housing, and took other related actions to create new investment opportunities and open space in the broader PDF Document Lower Concourse area. In 2009, in addition to the WAP, DCP established the SHRWD to ensure the waterfront from E. 149th Street to Park Avenue would be redeveloped with appropriate uses and buildings designed to be sensitive to the unique conditions of the waterfront and surrounding area. The rezoning of the Lower Concourse intended to transform a waning industrial waterfront area and the lower Grand Concourse into a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community with new housing, waterfront open space, and an array of retail services. 

With the capacity for over 5,000 units of housing along the waterfront, much of which sits in the flood plain, this area requires regulations that support resilient development and address unique conditions to the south to ensure appropriate waterfront public access and open space as development occurs.  The proposed amendments would address the changing regulatory environment around flood resilient construction (i.e., the 2013 passage of the PDF Document Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment) and take into account recent local studies and plans affecting the area. 

Small groups worked together with urban designers to shape their preferred vision for access to the Harlem River waterfront between Lincoln and Park avenues.

Public Outreach

On Thursday, May 19th DCP hosted a workshop to engage local residents and other stakeholders, in shaping the waterfront access and special district regulations for the expansion area between Park Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. The event took place at the Savoy Room in Hostos Community College. Based on residents’ insight and previous planning initiatives from other partners, participants had the opportunity to create a vision for promoting and improving access to the Harlem River waterfront.

In an open house setting, participants learned about waterfront zoning regulations and requirements, the existing Special Harlem River Waterfront District, and characteristics of the proposed expansion area. DCP made a brief presentation to share more detail on the zoning regulations and to answer questions. Participants then divided into smaller groups to work together to shape their preferred vision for access to the Harlem River waterfront in the proposed expansion area. Each group developed a vision for the area, taking into consideration the challenges of the area and looking at ways to improve access. Based on the waterfront zoning regulations, each group built off the required shore public walkway and mapped out upland pedestrian connections, important view corridors, and preferred locations for active uses and larger open spaces. The groups also considered whether the waterfront should be active and lively or passive and tranquil, and how both qualities might be accommodated. In addition to the maps produced by each group, DCP urban designers worked closely with each group to capture their vision for the waterfront. Each group did a report-out at the end and shared their ideas with the rest of the participants.

Small groups worked together with urban designers to shape their preferred vision for access to the Harlem River waterfront between Lincoln and Park avenues.
Small groups worked together with urban designers to shape their preferred vision for access to the Harlem River waterfront between Lincoln and Park avenues.
Groups shared their plans for waterfront access and their vision for the Harlem River.
Groups shared their plans for waterfront access and their vision for the Harlem River.

On June 5th, 2017, the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications (N 170414 ZRX and C 170413 ZMX) for the Special Harlem River Waterfront District to begin the formal review process.

MilestoneDates
Department of City Planning Certification June 5, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
Bronx Community Board 1 Approval June 29, 2017
Borough President Approval August 7, 2017
City Planning Commission Hearing August 9, 2017
City Planning Commission Approval with Modifications* - View the CPC Reports October 4, 2017
City Council Approval with Modifications** December 11, 2017


*City Planning Commission Modifications:

On October 4, 2017, the City planning Commission approved the proposed map and text amendments (N 170414 ZRX and C 170413 ZMX) with modifications to several elements of the proposal, among other minimal text clarifications and corrections.

  • Reduce locations on certain parcels for active non-residential uses
  • Add vesting provisions for certain parcels in the South Subdistrict
  • Define a required setback from the Deegan Expressway to preserve space for the possibility for a future Deegan easement and improvements.
  • Lower the minimum base height along the Deegan Expressway frontage from 60 feet to 15 feet
  • Add minimal planting/urban furniture requirements on the setback space from the Deegan Expressway
  • Other minimal text clarifications and corrections


*City Council modifications:

On December 11, 2017, the NYC City Council adopted the proposed map and text amendments (N 170414 ZRX and C 170413 ZMX) with modifications to several elements of the proposal, including adding an authorization to modify a street line provision and removing certain vesting provisions, among other minimal text clarifications and corrections.

  • Addition of an authorization to modify the street line provision for Parcels 2, 3 and 4
  • Provision to allow one of the required 13’ sidewalks on Fire Apparatus Access Roads be substituted for a pedestrian path in the Shore Public Walkway
  • Removal of vesting provisions for Parcel 12
  • Other minimal text clarifications and corrections