Zara Looks to Legalize its Oversized SoHo Flagship Store

Posted on: October 16th, 2019 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Google Maps

The flagship Zara store on Broadway is hoping to legalize its SoHo footprint by altering the current zoning.

Zara, which purchased the commercial condo at 503 Broadway in 2015 for $284 million, occupies a much larger footprint than what is permitted under the current zoning. (Former location of Old Navy from 1998 to 2015.) Once the multinational brand took control of the space, it illegally extended retail operations to the 14,000 square-foot second floor, which is zoned for “factory use.”

Subsequent community pressure from the Broadway Residents Coalition resulted in illegal use violations from Department of Buildings in July 2018. The fines are inconsequential, yet nevertheless impact precedent.

Now, Zara is applying for a special permit from City Planning that legitimizes the status quo at 503 Broadway. Their pitch was heard by the commissioners back in August with plenty of questions; the Land-Use committee of Community Board 2 discussed the application a month later, and will again hear from the Zara troop tonight.

These zoning issues are also part of the broader conversation about the city’s controversial push to rezone the SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods.

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