We hope you will be joining us at our meeting tomorrow, October 10th. We will gather at St. Margaret’s Meeting Room – 49 Fulton Street – at 6:30pm. (Map)
What’s next in the Seaport’s redevelopment? How will it affect the Museum, its boats, and the Historic District? Do we need to have a voice in the planning? How would we get it? And how will SOS itself run in the future? We’ll hear some answers, discuss a few more, brainstorm, and make some plans, so please attend.
If you missed either or both of the two Community Board 1 meetings last week, here is a roundup:
Tuesday October 2
South Street Seaport Museum (“SSSM”) President Susan Henshaw Jones addressed the CB1 Seaport Committee and expressed the following concerns about the proposed reconstruction of the Pier 17 Seaport Mall:
1. The Performance Stage proposed for the area between Pier 17 and Pier 16 will block the Fulton St. visual corridor and the audience will spill over to SSSM property.
2. With a rezoning of the area and the changes which would allow for “Big Box” tenants, the City is giving the Mall Leasing Broker a “blank check” to find new tenants which may not be compatible with the low-rise Historic District marketplace.
3. The Developer should be required to enter into a “restrictive declaration” which will define construction practices and standards and which if abused, can be legally enforced by the neighbors.
4. The visual corridor on demapped Fulton Street must be maintained without the hodgepodge of kiosks, signage and tents.
5. The Museum should continue to control its own spaces and be given priority access to water berthings.
Thursday October 4
Community Board One (“CB1″) mustered up four of their committees, SEAPORT/CIVIC CENTER, LANDMARKS, PLANNING and WATERFRONT for a public hearing of the HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION (“HHC”) proposal to reconstruct the PIER 17 Seaport Mall.
This Uniform Land Use Review Plan (“ULURP”) gives CB1 sixty days to submit comments that then go to the Manhattan Borough President, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and ultimately to the Mayor (usually a nine month process). HHC gave their powerpoint presentation, each CB1 member was given the opportunity to ask questions and finally the public had a chance to comment. HHC is planning to replace everything at Pier 17 except for the infrastructure with one or two three-story “glass boxes” which will house almost 50% more retail than is there now. They have promised to open up the ground floor and create a “street grid” surrounded by stores and restaurants, to create a concert venue/rooftop public park, a public “porch” on pier 18 to the north, and to build a new performance stage between piers 16 and 17 to anchor a revitalized “Fulton Plaza.”
CB1 members were skeptical of the need to rezone all of the waterfront down to Pier 11 and would prefer that the rezoning take place solely on Pier 17, so as to distinguish this plan from the rumored “Master Plan” which would involve the historic TIN and NEW MARKET Buildings and possibly include a 42 story hotel/residential building opposite Beekman Street. The popular New Amsterdam Market would be put in jeopardy if this were to happen. South Street Seaport Museum (“SSSM”) concerns include the visual “obstacle” posed by Fulton Plaza which would result in Stage Left overflowing on to SSSM’s pier 16, the lack of any mention of berthing rights for its Street of Ships, and various options which might take away Museum properties underneath the FDR Drive, as well as upper floors on the Museum Block.
CB1 will have further meetings on this subject this month, with the next one taking place at 6 pm on October 11th at the CB1 office for the LANDMARKS Committee to consider HHC’s request for a giant SEAPORT sign on their rooftop. CB1 has until November 12th to submit comments.