Live-Work Comes to Newburgh

Posted in Commercial Real Estate Trends, Cottage Industry, Creative Class, Live-work | Last Updated May 25, 2017



Live Work- The Trend That's Come to Newburgh


In July of 2015 the City of Newburgh’s Planning Department’s  zoning update was unanimously accepted.

The planning process targeted nine main areas that the rezoned code was designed to effect; one of these was  “Live-Work.”

Live-work is a term associated with another concept: New Urbanism.

Simply, New Urbanism marries an appreciation for old-school, pre-automobile living, together with an appreciation of historic districts, environmentalism, as well as the technology that continues to carry us into the 21st century.

While “Live-Work” continues to pick up momentum as a national trend, it is currently not an officially identified use by New York State, but that all changes on October 3, 2016 as the State codifies this use under the International Building code adoption.

The city of Newburgh, currently uses properties classified under the the Office of Real Property Services( ORPS) category of “Multiple Use” (also referred to as Mixed Use) within the Office of Real Property Services (“ORPS”) codes  section 480 to 483. These property types  potentially qualify within the city of Newburgh’s definition of “Live-Work” use.

Even though “Live-Work” is a (by design) permitted use in the city of Newburgh, under the new zoning regulations, you will still be required to submit a site plan for each possible conversion, new build, or existing property that you wish to make into a”Live-Work” space.

There are over 360 properties in the City of Newburgh that potentially qualify as Live-Work. That is a significant amount and raises the following questions:

  1. What impact will  “Live-Work”  have on the city of Newburgh?
  2. Will this new property use create more interest in having people with businesses move here?
  3. What kinds of businesses will, in particular, be a good fit for this.


We plan on looking at “Live-Work” more closely over the next several weeks and months as it is a potential game changer for Newburgh, especially as more people learn about its existence here.

And, this also fits neatly with our coverage of the mission and activities of the Industrial Development Agency and the Orange County Accelerator, both of which have start-up pods and pilot programs geared specifically around “Live-Work.”


One of the goals in this ongoing series will be to provide examples of people utilizing buildings in the city of Newburgh for “Live-Work.”

“Live-Work” is exactly as it sounds, you live and work in the same building.

For Newburgh that will mean (mostly) using existing 2, 3 and 4 story buildings where there exists commercial space on the ground floor and residential space on the second floor and above. Businesses considered “Cottage Industries” (artisanal makers, artisanal food producers, and cut and sew businesses, for example) would be allowed to take advantage of “Live-Work” under the new zoning regulations.

Presently, there are six zoning districts that allow for “Live-Work”. They are:

  1. The Medium Density Residential Zone
  2. The High Density Residential Zone
  3. The Broadway Corridor District
  4. The Downtown Neighborhood District
  5. The Waterfront Gateway District
  6. The Planned Waterfront District

You can reference back  to the actual zoning maps that will show you the boundary areas for each district here.


As mentioned, across the country, and even in our region, as a result of the  New Urbanism movement which has a special emphasis on “Live-Work,” this type of zoning is gaining in importance and popularity, as city planners everywhere embrace and incorporate codes allowing the use in city zoning via zoning code re-writes.

The main real-world benefit is that would-be owners or even renters of this type of property get to solve two things in one location; where to live and where to work without having to pay two rents or purchase two separate properties.

“Live-Work” offers an affordable way to reduce both living and working expenses, at the same time it emphasizes repurposing beautiful, historic district buildings. In addition, automobile traffic is reduced since you don’t need to drive to work when you live there, resulting in a reduced carbon foot print.


Newburgh's Land Bank Renovation a Mixed Use or Live Work type property

The recent renovation of 13 Chambers St would be an example of a “Mixed-Use” property that could be utilized as “Live-Work”.


Locally, we are keeping up with the trends as recently, Habitat For Humanity of Greater Newburgh built a 3 story “Live-Work” property at 123 Washington St., in the East End Historic District.

This 3 story building is comprised of a ground level work area and 2nd & 3rd floor living areas. The new building was completed in record time by a dedicated team of volunteers during one of Habitat’s notorious “Builders’ Blitz” (meaning it was finished in under a week!), according to Habitat’s Executive Directory, Cathy Collins.

They have already gone into contract with a buyer who is a professional photographer by trade. The closing is expected to occur in early fall 2016.

For the City,  this represents the first “New Build” under the “Live-Work” zoning code.

“Habitat for Humanity Newburgh chapter was one of only four U.S. Cities to receive a grant from  the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, receiving a $100,000 implementation grant for this pilot “Live-Work” project,” she said.Cathy Collins, Executive Director, Habitat Newburgh


Habitat Newburgh's Live-Work Build
Habitat Newburgh’s Recent Live Work Build
Newburgh’s Habitat was one of only four U.S. City program to receive funding from the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth

Two more “Live-Work” spaces are to be built in 2017, once enough funds are raised by Habitat for Humanity. These to-be-built “Live-Work” properties will be situated at 119-121 Washington St.

Our (construction) hats go off to Habitat for Humanity for being the first pioneers to embark on building “Live-Work” space in the city of Newburgh. They are leading the way on this aspect of newly built “Live-Work”. Read more about their “Live-Work” plans here.


Some, like architect and Live-Work advocate Tom Dolan,  label “Live-Work” as a form of “zero commute housing” since, as previously noted, there is virtually no reliance on having to commute to your place of work.

“Live-Work” usually means greater quality of life opportunities as access to: restaurants, theaters, cultural venues, coffee shops and art galleries occur seemingly instantaneously in rising “Live-Work” neighborhoods.

Since such resources are usually in close proximity to “Live-Work” locations, and are walkable, cars are not needed to get to them.

As outlined above by the new districts that have been identified as allowing “Live-Work”, many of these (restaurants, museums, etc) either exist or have recently opened, in Newburgh, or are about to be opened. It’s a practically daily occurrence for those living within the above-defined zoning district.

The lifestyle of  “Live-Work”  promotes and enhances those organically occurring communities that spring up.

“Walk-ability”  and how that shapes the city, as well as the social environment that occurs when people are making, creating, doing and interacting in interesting ways without having to go very far has been and will continue to be a focus of this blog.

We plan on discussing this in greater detail at our upcoming “Live-Work” workshop slated for the middle of September. Please check back here as we move towards a final date for our workshop, and as we do more featured stories on people living the “Live-Work” dream. We will also cover the various support systems, incentives and resources available as the momentum for “Live-Work” continues to build, especially in the beautiful, historic city of Newburgh.