$1.4B South Street Seaport proposal includes two mixed-use towers with affordable units

Posted On Thu, October 22, 2020 By

Posted On Thu, October 22, 2020 By In affordable housing, Major Developments, New Developments, South Street Seaport

All renderings courtesy of The Howard Hughes Corporation/SOM

The Howard Hughes Corporation on Thursday unveiled its latest effort to redevelop the South Street Seaport neighborhood. The $1.4 billion proposal includes the construction of two 470-foot towers which would contain rentals, condos, and office space on a parking lot at 250 Water Street. Initial plans from the developer called for a single tower that would rise nearly 1,000 feet, but local residents and Community Board 1 opposed it. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the two towers would include 360 units, with at least 100 apartments set aside for families earning 40 percent of the area median income. It would be the first affordable housing built in the community under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.

Since signing a lease with the city in 2010, Howard Hughes continues to transform a large swath of the waterfront neighborhood. So far, the group has opened the Pier 17 complex, which has retail, restaurants, and rooftop event space, and continues to work on the Tin Building, formerly home to the Fulton Fish Market. The group bought the parcel at 250 Water Street in 2018 for $180 million.

The proposed two-tower design includes a “contextually scaled podium base” made of materials reflective of surrounding buildings. Storefronts of the building will be compatible with existing retail in the neighborhood.

As part of the 250 Water Street proposal, developers would make improvements to the Peck Slip Play Street and provide $50 million to the South Street Seaport Museum, which would allow for a new building that would display art and artifacts from its collection.

“For decades the Seaport Museum has credibly delivered its world-renowned and award-winning program despite a perennial shortage of reliable revenues,” Jonathan Boulware, president of the South Street Seaport Museum, said. “Following the repeated setbacks the Museum has endured, the pandemic is a terrible blow. The proposed financial support from this project and phased improvements to its Schermerhorn Row home would go a very long way to ensuring that this irreplaceable jewel in New York’s crown survives and thrives.”

A long road lies ahead for the project’s approval. Landmarks Preservation Commission must approve the designs for both the mixed-use towers and the new museum building. And the city must approve the plan to transfer unused development rights from Howard Hughes’ Pier 17 and Tin Building sites to 250 Water Street. The $50 million expected from the development rights sale will be provided to the museum, according to the developer.

The proposed designs are expected to be heard by Landmarks in December, with the uniform land use review procedure kicking off next spring. If approved, construction could begin in 2022.

At a time when the city continues to reel from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Howard Hughes is arguing that this project would provide economic benefits to the neighborhood and the city overall. According to the developer, the construction of 250 Water Street would generate $1.8 billion in economic output annually and create 2,000 construction jobs. Overall, the site could create nearly 2,500 full and part-time permanent positions and ultimately generate $645 million in economic output for the city.

“As New York City works to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, we are redoubling our commitment to the city and the Seaport. We aim to be part of the solution by investing in this unique, historic neighborhood and its economy, providing a crucial lifeline to the Seaport Museum, and building affordable housing in an area where housing prices are out of reach for most New Yorkers,” Saul Scherl, president of the New York Tri-State Region for Howard Hughes, said.

“Over the last five years, we’ve received input from a wide range of neighbors about the Seaport’s future that has helped shape our proposal, which honors the area’s history and culture. We’re eager to continue the constructive dialogue with the community and our local elected officials as we move toward public review.”

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All renderings courtesy of The Howard Hughes Corporation/SOM

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Neighborhoods : South Street Seaport

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