Special Tribeca Loft Regulations

by | Last updated Jun 9, 2020 | Apartment Renovations, NYC DOB

The Special Tribeca Mixed Use District (TMU) has special rules governing the size and configuration of Lofts with regards to enlarging, extending, combining, and subdividing lofts. These rules will supersede the Zoning Codes of the Underlying District.


Special Tribeca Mixed Use District

The Zoning Code uses a term “Loft Dwelling” specifically to identify Tribeca Lofts. Below is the definition of Tribeca “Loft Dwelling” from the NYC Zoning Resolution:

“A “loft dwelling” is a dwelling unit in the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District, in a building designed for non-residential use erected prior to December 15, 1961.”

The following is in reference to Tribeca Lofts according to the definition above.


Special Codes for Tribeca Lofts

These Codes only apply to Lofts created before October 13th, 2010 in the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District. The TMU Special District is one of many Special Zoning Districts in NYC. Special Districts have rules the supersede typical Zoning Codes. The following are some of the requirements for these lofts.

Minimum Size of individual Lofts

The minimum floor area for a Loft in the TMU is 2,000 square feet with some exceptions.


  1. If the loft is the entire usable area of the floor, it may be under 2,000 square feet.
  2. If the loft is at least 14 feet wide throughout with windows on the street and a yard, there is no minimum area. The yard must be at least 10% the depth of the loft.
  3. If the ratio of windows opening area to a street or yard (of 30 feet) is over 5%, the minimum area can be reduced. The reduction rate is 200 square feet for each percent over 5% up to 10%.
  4. If the ratio of windows opening area to a street or yard (of 30 feet) is over 10%, there is no minimum area.
  5. These regulations can be replaced with the JLWQA  Joint Live Work Quarters for Artist in certain situations. We have another post where you can see some of these regulations: NYC Artist Loft Live Work Rules.

Number of Loft Apartments

The total number of Loft apartments in a Loft building cannot be more than one per 1,000 square feet of total floor area allocated to Loft apartments. There is an exception for buildings qualifying for JLWQA regulations.

Mezzanines in a Loft

Lofts can have mezzanines in them if they comply with the following requirements.

  1. Must comply with the NYC Administrative Code Chapter 26.
  2. The gross floor area can be a maximum of 33 1/3 % of the floor area for the loft.
  3. The building must have a Floor Area Ratio of 12 or less.

Recreational Space

In a Loft Building with 15 or more lofts, at least 30% of the roof area must be for recreational use. For each additional Loft Apartment, 100 square feet must be added up to 50%.

Lofts can be Subdivided, Extended, or Enlarged if they comply with these regulations and all other applicable requirements.


What Does Tribeca Stand for?

The name Tribeca is an abbreviation of Triangle Below Canal Street.


Tribeca Loft Zoning Codes 

As an architect, I study Building and Zoning Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article, we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to Tribeca Lofts. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank you for reading our blog post on Tribeca Loft Apartment codes.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.


Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.