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Lam Poon Team Digs For Fairfield Inn at South Street Seaport

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Down at the edge of the South Street Seaport Historic District the hospitality crew from Marriott are digging down, readying a site for a new 31-story hotel set to rise above the East River, just a stone's throw from the spanking new Pier 15. The lot is at 30 Fletcher Street, and it backs up to one of the more storied building plots from the high-flying times before the economy hit the skids, namely number 80 South Street. That's where WTC Transportation Hub-ster Santiago Calatrava hoped to hit the heavens with his sky-high priced tower of penthouses, first announced in 2004. Those heady times are far behind and now this block, close to the water and in the middle of a flood zone, will get something more mundane: two hundred guest rooms in a Fairfield Inn.
The Marriott plan is being developed by the team at Lam Generation, working with a batch of busy designers from Peter Poon Architects. That creative crew has rendered a stack of glass and metal, with a couple of setbacks up top and?to hold back rising tides?a battalion of flood gates set down low. The lot, measuring a mere 32 feet wide by 93 feet long, is awaiting a foundation and was recently ripped open. It's in the middle of what the city dubs a "Zone A" Hurricane Evacuation Zone, and that could mean trouble. The Department of Buildings labels the area a "Flood Hazard Zone" so what's going up "must be built to the most stringent standards to ensure minimal damage in case of flooding." That means the new hotel must construct flood barriers and a whole host of other techno-contraptions to keep the guests safe and dry. Holy Budget Busters!

Where Front Street runs near the edge of Manhattan the East River used to flow; roads and buildings along that stretch sit atop an expanse of landfill stretching from Water Street to the piers beyond the elevated FDR. Old wooden pilings have been pulled up from the depths of the Marriott site. Recent boring tests show that the silty river bed sat twenty feet below the site some two hundred years ago, before the river's banks were pushed east to make room for commerce. In 1855 the inhabitant of this corner was the McCullough Shot and Lead Company, whose owner contracted James Bogardus to erect a downtown tower for manufacturing lead gunshot. Rising 175 feet from an octagonal framework of cast iron in what is now Foley Square, the tower was a forerunner of the first skyscrapers. By the 1920s the Front Street lot was owned by Cullman Brothers, tobacco brokers and smoking enthusiasts; they commissioned noted architect Aymar Embury II to design a one-story neo-Georgian commercial building for the site. Sometime by the 1970s the site was cleared and for the past many decades it's been a parking lot. By 2013 a Fairfield Inn will be offering hospitality to a lucky few of NYC's 50,000,000 yearly visitors.
· Projects Commercial: Marriott Fairfield Inn Seaport [Peter Poon Architect]
· 80 South Street coverage [Curbed]

80 South St

80 South Street, Manhattan, NY 10038

Pier 15

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