NEW YORK | South Street Seaport Redevelopment | 494 FT | 42 FLOORS

Uncertainty Surrounds Plans For 50-Story Seaport Tower

Thursday, June 5, 2014, by Jessica Dailey

After 11 weeks of meetings, the Seaport Working Group task force finally unveiled its guidelines and recommendations for the Howard Hughes Corporation’s latest redevelopment plans for the South Street Seaport. Last November, the developer and Seaport overlord—who is currently demolishing Pier 17 to build a new Pier 17—revealed plans for a 50-story hotel/condo tower, throwing the community into a tizzy. Because the tower would replace the New Market Building, once home to the historic Fulton Fish Market (and block views of the Brooklyn Bridge), neighbors and preservationists immediately opposed it and launched a plan to stop it. After three months of fielding a lot of angry feedback, Howard Hughes agreed to form the Working Group to seek organized community input, and now here we are. So what does the Seaport want and how does Howard Hughes feel about it?

Obviously, many Seaporters do not want a 50-story tower; DNAinfo notes that they’d rather see a shorter building. They also want Howard Hughes to save the beleaguered South Street Seaport Museum and create new public green space along the waterfront. Downtown Express talked with a Howard Hughes rep about the plans, and Chris Curry, the company’s senior executive vice president of development, said that “the project that we’re envisioning is consistent with those guidelines.” Howard Hughes’ plan does include a marina, improvements to the East River Esplanade, and restoring the Tin Building. But Curry also said he “might have an issue” with the guideline that recommends a shorter tower. Shocker.

None of the guidelines are binding for Howard Hughes, but the developer will consider them and return to the community with a revised plan in the coming weeks. What the plan will hold, and whether or not the New Market building will be saved, remains to be seen. Preservationist have tried and failed to get the building, which sits just outside the historic district, landmarked for years, and Howard Hughes has repeatedly said that its beyond repair. Additionally, getting rid of it will help open up access to the water.

Gregg Pasquarelli, a partner at SHoP Architects, the firm that designed the proposed tower, told Downtown Express that they’ve been working on revising the plans, but he maintains that the tower “is the only way to get enough revenue to get all of the goodies they want”—i.e. it will make the most money and be able to fund the most projects.

The slender tower actually has a smaller floor area ratio than what current zoning allows, but it well exceeds the 350-foot height limit. But Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said that “a squat, as-of-right building clearly isn’t what these guidelines are calling for.” Something like that would block way more bridge views.

For now, everyone just has to wait and see. The developer will likely file an official ULURP application in the fall, and the final decision will be made by City Planning and City Council. It’s unclear how the De Blasio administration feels about the development, but if we learned anything from Domino, we imagine there will be some serious affordable housing demands.

June 1

The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans for a 50-story, SHoP-designed tower next to Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport were put on hold after community backlash, but new documents spotted by the Downtown Post indicate that the developer has not given up on the tower. In a report recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the second quarter of 2014, HHC says that they expect the “formal approval process” for the project in the fourth quarter of this year:

“On November 20, 2013, we announced plans for further redevelopment of the South Street Seaport district which includes approximately 700,000 square feet of additional space, East River Esplanade improvements, a marina, restoration of the historic Tin Building, and the creation of a dynamic food market, replacement of wooden platform piers adjacent to Pier 17 and a newly constructed mixed-use building. The plans are subject to a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (“ULURP”) that requires approval by the New York City Council, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and other various government agencies. We expect to begin our formal approval process in the fourth quarter of 2014.”


Hi-Res Renderings




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Howard Hughes said it would reduce the height of its proposed South Street Seaport residential development to 42 stories from 52 stories, or to 494 feet from 650 feet, the people familiar with the matter said.

In addition, 30% of the project’s apartments would be offered at below-market rents. Those units, however, wouldn’t be part of the tower but in historic buildings on nearby Schermerhorn Row that the developer would renovate, the people familiar with the proposal said.


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Committee eyes bigger historic district to sink Seaport tower

January 06,
Tess Hofmann

Community Board 1’s Special Landmarks Committee presented its resolution regarding Howard Hughes Corporation’s South Street Seaport development — and it includes an end run that could effectively derail the project.

The panel wants the Landmarks Preservation Commission to extend historic district boundaries to include the site of the development’s showpiece, a 494-foot tower.

As of now, the committee has no say over the tower site, which sits outside of historic district bounds. The New Market building, which is currently on the site, would be demolished to make way for the structure. Howard Hughes Corporation scaled back plans for the tower from 52 stories to 42 stories in November after facing community and city opposition.
The remainder of the resolution mixed support for the project with concerns. The committee endorsed dismantling the Tin Building and constructing a new building using certain original elements, but did not support a one-story addition. Howard Hughes’ Chris Curry said that the space would be used for “cultural” purposes, but the committee does not govern uses, Curbed reported.

The panel also had initial concerns about a canopy overhanging to be constructed over the roof field on the Pier 17 mall, but was convinced to support it. The board’s Special Landmarks Committee passed the resolution 10-0, clearing the way for it to go before the entire community board on Jan. 26. The result of that meeting will determine the recommendation sent to the Landmarks Preservation Commission


Proposed Condo Tower Could Stall Entire South Street Seaport Redevelopment Plan

Less than a week after it was revealed that the Howard Hughes Corporation paid $31 million for more than 300,000 square feet of air rights at the South Street Seaport, it looks like the entire $1.5 billion redevelopment project could be stalled. The overall plan would breathe new life into the downtown historic district by rehabilitating crumbling piers, preserving and finding new use for landmark buildings and constructing a 42-story waterfront condo tower at the foot of Beekman Street. And it’s this last point that has local officials, civic groups, preservationists and some community residents worried or downright angry.

The 494-foot-tall, SHoP Architects-designed tower has already been scaled back from its original 650 feet, but concerned parties still feel that the building would “obscure views of the Brooklyn Bridge and clash with the low-scaled, early-19th-century brick buildings that make up the 11-block seaport district, once the center of the city’s maritime industry,” according to the New York Times.

According to Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for economic development: “The administration has a strong interest in preserving the maritime heritage of the seaport, including the historic ships and the museum. We’re in ongoing discussions with the community and its elected officials, as well as the private developer, to see if we can achieve that critical objective and satisfy other priorities the neighborhood has raised.”

David R. Weinreb, chief executive of Howard Hughes, said that his company’s goals align with this and that the condo tower would provide the necessary revenue to include community incentives like building a middle school, renovating the historic Tin Building, and creating a new home for the South Street Seaport Museum. But some elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, say the developer needs to completely start over.

Howard Hughes has been meeting with concerned and/or interested parties for the past year, even forming their own group of supporters called Friends of the Seaport. According to a poll they conducted, 80 percent of local residents support the project. Whether or not that figure is accurate will surely come to light in the near future as the debate over the South Street Seaport and its controversial condo tower heats up.

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Wow, how long has it been for this construction?
Glad it received a new photo, Tokila!

there might be another thread specifically for this, I believe this is the retail space they are building on the old pier.

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New plaza looks great!


with plans for the tower six feet under, seems this will become a vacant lot?

The city is moving forward with plans to knock down the New Market Building at the South Street Seaport, once again calling the site’s future into question.

The rundown building — constructed in 1939 as part of the Fulton Fish Market — has sat vacant for many years. The city previously discussed demolishing it, back when the Howard Hughes Corporation planned a condominium and hotel tower on the site in 2015. At the time, representatives from the city’s Economic Development Corporation told Crain’s that the building was in danger of collapsing because the piles that supported the structure were so deteriorated.
The city has already taken apart substructure portions of the old market, ane expects it to be fully demolished by the fall.


This sits right between the the new mall and the Brooklyn Bridge. They should just make this a park that abuts the East River Esplanade


I agree.

I’d also like to see the FDR end at the Brooklyn Bridge exit and have the elevated portion near the Seaport razed.



In its latest annual review, the Dallas-based firm notes that some 212,000 square feet of air rights could be freed up from the New Market building, a now-vacant structure already pegged for demolition. Those rights could be combined with another 415,000 square feet of air rights from Pier 17 and the Tin Building, two of HHC’s redevelopment projects that are already well underway.
A representative for the city’s Economic Development Corporation said there are no plans for the site as of right now. The city is planning to complete the demolition of the New Market building by this fall, as reported by The Real Deal earlier this year. A spokesperson for HHC would only say that the company doesn’t have any agreement with the city to transfer the air rights to the New Market site or any other location.

Still, the company’s annual review — filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday — states that if HHC exercises its “option” at the New Market site, the 212,000 square feet of air rights will become available. Any sort of development on the New Market site would need to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Process.


I want to tear it down all the way to the Manhattan Bridge.

Interesting development. The NIMBY’s will try and shoot anything big down again, though.

WOW :eyes:


the neighborhood has really backed themselves into a corner here. There is a massive amount of air rights sitting here, and the only place to put them to use would probably 80 South Street, which is already huge. Will the neighborhood back down and grant a variance for a tall tower, or will the air rights go to an already tall tower and possibly make it taller?

Milstein bought the property for $5.8 million in 1979. Over the next few decades, the company offered several proposals for the site. Plans for the site include a two-building complex and a 770,000-square-foot, which generated pushback from the Landmarks Preservation Committee and local residents. Its latest proposal, a 23-story, 450-unit rental building, took a hit after a downzoning in the area.

Howard Hughes is in expansion mode in the Seaport District. The company is already developing Pier 17 and the Tin Building in the area, and is eyeing an extra 600,000 square feet of development rights in the immediate vicinity.

Howard Hughes has yet to reveal its plans for 250 Water Street.

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I think it’ll be way better once the whole thing opens.