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Suzanne Anker

Chair, Fine Arts Department
School of Visual Arts

Margaret D. Baisley

Esq., Real Estate Attorney

Roslyn Bernstein

Professor, Department of Journalism, Baruch College, CUNY

Michael Betancourt

Managing Director, AION Partners

Doris Diether

Co-Chair of Landmarks Committee, Community Board 2, Manhattan

Donald H. Elliott

Counsel, Bryant Burgher Jaffe LLP, and Former Chair, New York City Planning Commission

Charles Leslie

Gallery Owner and Former President, SoHo Artists Association

Michael E. Levine

Director of Planning and Land Use, Community Board #1, The City of New York

Jonas Mekas

Filmmaker and Artistic Director, Anthology Film Archives

Jack S. Nyman

Director, The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, Baruch College, CUNY

Shael Shapiro


Carl Weisbrod

Partner, HR&A Advisors


The Intersection of Art and Real Estate

The Intersection of Art and Real Estate Thumbnail

December 1, 2011
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

SUBJECT: On the 40th anniversary of the zoning change that created live/work lofts for artists in SoHo we explore this example of planning reacting to, rather than initiating change and ponder the future.

The William and Anita Newman Conference Center Room 750, 151 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
Past Event Information:
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Illegal Living: 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo, a recent book by Roslyn Bernstein and Shael Shapiro, shows that SoHo is the result of the vision of one man. George Maciunas, founder of the Fluxus art movement conceived of Fluxhouses, where artists could live and work, as an artistic endeavor. Artists moved into lofts illegally, contrary to zoning. With a stake in the neighborhood, they were able to stave off Robert Moses and pressures for urban renewal and successfully lobby the City to enact zoning changes to allow them to live and work in their lofts.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, SoHo thrived as an artfocused mixed use neighborhood. As real estate prices started to rise, commerce pushed art out. Today, the character of SoHo reflects the high fashion, cosmetics, and home furnishings stores that occupy the ground floors. Many of these stores exist in spite of zoning laws designed to maintain a manufacturing character in the neighborhood and many loft owners are no longer certified artists, as required by the zoning.

What should be done? Can art survive as a vital component of this thriving mixed-use neighborhood? Should residential occupancy still be restricted to artists? Should retail stores be allowed to proliferate? Although landmarked, will the physical character of the neighborhood change? Can the City control future changes? The history and future of SoHo will be explored by stakeholders that include

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