In a dramatic turn of events this past fall, Texas-based mega-developer Howard Hughes Corporation appeared to have abandoned its proposal for a luxury residential high rise on the Seaport, with a spokesperson telling the New York Post in November, “There will be no tall tower on the New Market site. That is not happening.”
But when contacted for confirmation later that month, a spokesperson for the company refused to admit they were abandoning their tower plan, which at one point rose to over 50 stories. Howard Hughes provided a statement to this paper saying they’re, “working on a revised mixed-use development plan in light of feedback from elected officials and the community. We remain fully committed to the Seaport District and we will be presenting a revised plan soon.”
Nevertheless, those in the community who have stood against the proposal for years certainly took indications of its demise as a victory.
“There is a certain sense of promise as we see our years of advocacy for the South Street Seaport Historic District finally bearing fruit,” David Sheldon, a member of the advocacy group Save Our Seaport that stood against Howard Hughes’ various proposals, said in November.
In their latest proposal the company wanted to build a 500-foot, 150-unit luxury residential tower at the site of the New Market Building, near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. The company planned to use revenue generated by the tower to build a new middle school and 70 units of affordable housing on Schermerhorn Row. But pressure from advocates, preservationists and elected officials like Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin convinced them to go back to the drawing board.
In 2016 look for Howard Hughes to release a revision - their third at this point - on what they’re now proposing to build at the Seaport. Also, depending on what it says, they should be prepared for another bloody lip from those in the community who want to see the maritime history of the Seaport, and the surrounding South Street Seaport Historic District, preserved for and passed down to future generations.
-- Daniel Fitzsimmons