Up until today, the South Street Seaport redevelopment plans of the Howard Hughes Corporation have focused solely on Pier 17, leaving the community to wonder what will happen with the rest of the area. But they shall wonder no longer. The New York Times reports that a 50-story hotel and condo tower, plus a new marina, will be built directly beside Pier 17. SHoP Architects revealed the first renderings of the building, showing a slender, striated tower rising from a wide podium. The plans line up with a proposal that was uncovered back in Marcha building with a 95,000-square-foot hotel and 280,000 square feet of market-rate residential apartmentsbut Howard Hughes wouldn't talk about it.
The tower will no doubt piss off some of the neighbors as the plans call for the demolition of the historic New Market Building. Robert LaValva, the founder of the New Amsterdam Market, which takes place in the parking lot of the building, has been fighting to save it (ideally so it can once again become a market building), and he told the Times that Howard Hughes' plans could ruin "the coherence and integrity of the historic district." He called the New Market Building "the one and only existing historic building that connects the land to the waterfront." Another historic structure called the Tin Building would be dismantled and moved about 30 feet east to
make room for the tower raise it out of the floodplain.
The proposal also includes a marina and $125 million rehabilitation plans for the decrepit piers, as well as some kind of financial lifeline for the South Street Seaport Museum and historic ships. All of the details will be presented to the public at a community board meeting tonight, but if it had been up to Howard Hughes, the public would have been kept in the dark. "Howard Hughes, which would triple the size of its operations, had hoped to continue negotiating in secret with the city's Economic Development Corporation while it completed its proposal," writes the Times. "But demands by local officials and residents for a more open design process forced the company to make the plans public."
· Plan to Redevelop South Street Seaport Includes Marina and 50-Story Tower [NYT]
· South Street Seaport coverage [Curbed]
· Pier 17 coverage [Curbed]