The National Trust For Historic Preservation has rolled out its annual list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places, and it should come as no surprise that one of New York's own has a position of prominence on the docket. South Street Seaport is singled out as one of the most vulnerable historic sites in the country. The looming possibility of a 40-story tower and a new glassy mall at the site contends with the Seaport's historic importance in the city's early maritime industry, and its status as home to the city's largest concentration of restored early maritime buildings. The National Trust says the new development at the hands of Howard Hughes Corporation would "disrupt the look, feel and low-scale historic character of the Seaport."
The designation is a huge win for preservationists who have long been rallying against new development at the East River waterfront site. The National Trust has a winning track record for preserving the sites it names to the list; of the 250 sites that have been appointed to-date, only a few have been lost.
The redevelopment of the Seaport area has been in play for nearly a decade, but issues surrounding its proposed redevelopment as a glass-speckled catch-all area have recently come to a head. HHC has revised their plan to bring a 52-story hotel and condo tower to the waterfront site, but even the proposal of a shorter 40-story tower is not sitting well with the city. HHC's CEO recently sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio detailing how the development company may reform their plans, which includes addressing height concerns for the tower, restoring the historic Tin Building, and finding a long-term solution for the Seaport Museum, which HHC wanted to relocate to move ahead with its redevelopment plan.
To see the other 10 sites that made this year's list, hop on over to Curbed National.
UPDATE: Chris Curry, Senior EVP Development at Howard Hughes Corporation, has issued the following statement,
In response to community concerns, we are exploring a significant reduction to the height of the proposed building on the New Market site. As we've stated from the beginning of this process, our long-term vision for the Seaport celebrates the area's rich history by creating a vibrant Seaport District while also preserving its historic fabric and architecture, puts the South Street Seaport museum on sound financial footing and reestablishes New York's cherished connection to the working waterfront. · Explore America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places [National Trust]
· National Historic Trust's List of 11 Most Endangered Places Focuses on American Diversity [Curbed]
· South Street Seaport Tops Preservation Trust's List of Endangered Historic Sites [NYT]
· Controversial Seaport Tower Could Be Shorter Than 40 Stories [Curbed]
· All South Street Seaport coverage [Curbed]