Live-Work Comes to Newburgh

Posted in Commercial Real Estate Trends, Cottage Industry, Creative Class, Live-work | Last Updated April 6, 2020



Live Work- The Trend That's Come to Newburgh

Mixed-Use zoning encourages “Live-Work-Play

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

The resolution was the result of a multi-year planning process targeting nine main areas that the rezoned code was designed to effect; one of these was  “Live-Work.”

In essence, the city wisely created a response to the impacts of sprawl, and in partnership with the Newburgh Community Land Bank (as well as in partnership with: land use professionals; federal, state and municipal officials; environmental organizations; and community and affordable housing advocates) the city examined how it wanted to grow.

Combined experiences and an assessment of historic development patterns suggested that a more land-efficient and environmentally sound means of growth should focus on development that encouraged the mixing of land uses by leading with the following concepts:

  • Taking advantage of already existing and future compact building design
  • Creating a range of housing opportunities and choices
  • Creating walkable neighborhoods
  • Encouraging distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
  • Preserving open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
  • Strengthening and directing development towards existing communities
  • Providing transportation choices
  • Using cost-effective approaches

What is Smart Growth

What the City of Newburgh adopted was a concept known as “smart growth.”

What is Smart Growth? It’s an urban planning and transportation theory.

The opposite of sprawl, smart growth aims to guide a municipality in its efforts to promote and ensure development activities that improve quality of life, recognize environmental sensitivity, support local economies, and create a sense of community.

Smart growth strives to avoid future growth patterns that operate independently of a community’s vision.

Live-Work-Play as a national trend

Since the adoption of the new zoning regs, “Live-Work-Play” continues to pick up momentum as a national trend, and mixed-use property (a key element of “Live-Work-Play) which became a recognized designation as of October 3, 2016 as the State codified this use under the International Building code adoption, continues to offer tantalizing opportunity.

So, what is Live-Work-Play?

It’s nothing more (but much more) than a throwback to a former era when cars did not dictate lifestyles, people lived and worked within blocks of their homes, or IN their homes if they owned a storefront.

Every aspect of life centered around the community.

This explains why, in a city like Newburgh, there are literally dozens upon dozens of historic churches, graveyards, a magnificent and historic park, and in present times a shared commitment to preserving landmarks and historically significant buildings, while bringing other aspects such as transportation into the present day.

How Live-Work Works

The city of Newburgh currently uses properties classified under 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 zoning regulations, one is still required to submit a site plan for each possible conversion, new build, or an existing property that you wish to make into a”Live-Work” space.

There are hundreds of properties in the City of Newburgh that potentially qualify as 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.

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 refer back to zoning maps that will show you the boundary areas for each district here.

As mentioned, the main real-world benefit of Live-Work-Play 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”or the updated term “Live-Work-Play” is 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 footprint.


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, 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 well-known “Builders’ Blitz” (meaning it was finished in under a week!).

For the City,  this represented one of 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.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

Some, like architect and Live-Work advocate Tom Dolan, view“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-Play” will continue to means a greater quality of life as opportunities arise with access to the restaurants, theaters, cultural venues, coffee shops, and art galleries that occur in rising “Live-Work” neighborhoods.

Consequential to the districts that have been identified as allowing “Live-Work”, many new restaurants and shops have recently opened, in Newburgh, or are about to be opened throughout 2019 and 2020.