Friday, May 8, 2020

Seaport Redevelopment Plans 990-Foot Tower

As part of an integrated plan to redevelop several sites in the South Street Seaport, the Howard Hughes Corporation aims to build an up to 990-foot tower on a lot that could bring hundreds of new apartments to the neighborhood’s historic district.

The mixed-use building would rise on the edge of the historically low-rise patch of Lower Manhattan. Plans call for the transfer of more than 700,000 in unused air rights to 250 Water Street.

The development site is currently a parking lot that sits above the toxic remnants of a 19th-century thermometer factory. 

The current zoning for the Water Street lot caps development the historic district at 12 stories. 

By modifying the zoning, Howard Hughes seeks to build a red brick podium that’s contextually appropriate with the neighboring Georgian and Federal-style brick buildings, and a tower above that would soar to 990 feet, although a dual tower scenario is still an option that’s being considered.

The building’s base would feature some office and retail space, while the residential tower will bring between 550 and 700 units. It would be the district’s first project to utilize mandatory inclusionary housing—approximately 200 apartments could be set aside as affordable housing under the current proposal. 
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The building would also bring with it a package of upgrades throughout the Seaport area tied to changing the Water Street site’s zoning.

Howard Hughes purchased the Water Street lot—bounded by Peck Slip and Beekman Street to the north and south, and Water and Pearl streets to the east and west—from Milstein Properties in 2018 for $180 million. 

But the developer also controls a sizable chunk of the historic Seaport under a lease with the city, including Pier 17 and the Tin Building. Among them are several hundred thousand more unused development rights. 

As part of its master plan, Howard Hughes says it would commit to making several Seaport improvements along with the zoning change that it calls “priority designated improvements.” 

Among those upgrades would include a new six-story, 30,000 square-foot building at John and South streets for the South Street Seaport Museum, which is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and a 75,000 square-foot, low-rise New Market building near Pier 17.