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Howard Hughes Expects to Move Forward With Seaport Tower

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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." In June, the Seaport Working Group task force, which was formed in order to give HHC feedback on the proposal, outlined guidelines for what they'd like to see, and while the developer agreed with many of the ideas, a Howard Hughes rep voiced opposition to a shorter tower. Armed with the Working Group's recommendations, HHC planned to revise its proposal and present its updated plan to the community at a later date, which has yet to come. At the time of the June meeting, HHC said they hoped to file an official ULURP application in the fall, so the timeline indicated in the SEC filing is in keeping with that.

What remains unclear is what, if anything, has changed about HHC's plans. The SEC filing does not mention a tower or hotel or residential. It simply says there will be "a newly constructed mixed-use building." When the developer first announced these plans last November, they lined up with a previous proposal that called for a 95,000-square-foot hotel and 280,000 square feet of market-rate residential apartments. It's unclear if those numbers still stand, and it's also unclear if HHC still plans to demolish the New Market building.

We've reached out to Howard Hughes and the New York City Economic Development Corp., landlord for much of the Seaport, for comment, and we will update when we hear back.
· Downtown Post NYC [official]
· HHC Howard Hughes Corp Quarterly Report [Morning Star]
· Howard Hughes Corporation coverage [Curbed]

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