(New York, NY) March 10, 2015 – Save Our Seaport today unveiled alternate plans for the future of the South Street Seaport’s New Market and Tin Buildings. This is the first in a series of SOS proposals geared to keep the public assets of the Seaport working for all New Yorkers.
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The plans are in response to the Howard Hughes Corporation’s stalled 1.5 billion dollar redevelopment proposal which would result in the devastation of New York City’s only lasting tribute to its seafaring heritage.
“This debate marks a critical crossroads in the preservation of our city’s history,” said David Sheldon, a member of Save Our Seaport. “If development proceeds, we will lose the essence of this historic district that contains some of New York City’s oldest buildings, historic ships and the South Street Seaport Museum. Our vision enables the growth of a viable neighborhood with an ongoing maritime practice and tradition.”
Laid out by the grassroots Save Our Seaport organization, the new vision provides a realistic plan to revitalize the 11-block historic district while preserving its rich heritage. The current proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation seeks to demolish the New Market building and move the century-old Tin Building, formerly part of the Fulton Fish Market.
The two buildings, the Tin Building (1907) and the New Market Building (1939) are the last waterside market structures remaining in the City. The Fulton Market itself had its beginning in 1822, established in an area that had served New York as a market district almost from its beginning. SOS proposes that these public assets be re-purposed to allow them to continue to serve the public’s interests, rather than serve the stockholders of a private developer.
“This area provides a living tribute to the city’s first port which led to the rise of our great nation—we owe it to future generations to fight for its preservation,” said Peter Stanford, an author and former first President of the South Street Seaport Museum.
The Save Our Seaport vision proposes a repurposing of the Tin Building’s upper floors for a Harbor Middle School or Community Recreational Center. The ground floor would be used as a public food market.
The New Market Buildings would be repurposed as a center of maritime activity, with use of the second floor for a South Street Seaport Museum gallery, meeting and educational spaces. The ground floor space would be dedicated for ship maintenance and other uses in the public view.
SAVE OUR SEAPORT
A Vision for the Tin and New Market Buildings
Preserving History and Building Toward the Future
The Howard Hughes Corporation’s current redevelopment plan for the South Street Seaport is irresponsible and an unrealistic solution to the much-needed revitalization of the 11-block historic district. Our plan has 4 core components:
- Reinvigorate the South Street Seaport Museum
- Recreate a “Street of Ships”
- Repurpose contributing significant Historic Buildings
- Restore the quality of life with Community Amenities
The Howard Hughes Corp. does not own, lease, nor have they yet exercised lease “options” on the Tin Building, New Market Building, piers 19-21 and other public-owned inland sites within the South Street Seaport Historic District.
Save Our Seaport’s “Vision” for next steps follows:
- In addition to the Museum’s continued presence in Schermerhorn Row and on Water Street, the New Market Building should be repurposed as a center of Maritime Activity and use the second floor (23,350 sf) for the SSSM gallery, meeting and educational spaces and a possibility of performance/rehearsal/ studio space. Dedicate ground floor space for ship maintenance and projects.
- Create berthings in the East River for visiting historic ships and/or a working waterfront, with control of ghost piers 18-21 to go to the South Street Seaport Museum for earned revenue.
- Select an operator (via an RFP process) e.g. the New Amsterdam Market, to operate an indoor/outdoor destination Public Market. Encourage waterborne activity.
- Repurpose the Tin Building upper floors (estimated at 100,000 sf) for a Harbor Middle School or for a Community Recreational Center with public/private funds or for a Catering Facility or for a Culinary School (via RFP process) to create earned income, and build synergy between users and foodies. Dedicate ground floor space for public market uses.
- Since the Howard Hughes Corporation has “missed their milestones”, SOS Reiterates its Call for a MORATORIUM on any new SEAPORT Land Use Actions. SOS asks that the NYC Comptroller annul the 2011 Letter of Intent; and for the Mayor to put into place a community-based master planning effort to create a strategic vision for the Seaport Historic District. The Howard Hughes Corporation will need to be part of the process, but should not be leading it.
- Engage the Howard Hughes Corporation as one of many stakeholders in a Master Planning process. Explore creative strategies to provide a development site and/or Air Rights Transfers anywhere other than in the NYS/Federal Historic Seaport District for the Howard Hughes Corporation.
- Require ULURP approvals for downtown Developers to include a Community Benefit Agreement to renovate the Tin and New Market Buildings and repair pier pilings and platform. Authorize the Howard Hughes Corporation to act as fee leasing agent sharing revenue stream for SSSM properties insuring certainty of SSSM operational cash flow.
- A new governing authority, with local stakeholders, would replace the involvement of NYEDC in the Brooklyn Bridge Southeast Urban Renewal Plan district. It would act as the Landlord to the South Street Seaport and environs, (from The Battery to Pier 42), and reconvene the SEAPORT WORKING GROUP to finish their work which will result in a new Master Plan for the district.
About Save Our Seaport
Save Our Seaport (SOS) is a grassroots organization that began primarily among South Street Seaport Museum volunteers and former staff, including its founding President, Peter Stanford. Since 2011, SOS has grown to include a broad array of citizens concerned with the preservation of the Museum, the Seaport Historic District, New York and American maritime history, the Museum ships and waterfront, and the District’s public markets.
SOS continues to defend the inherent character and public purpose of this neighborhood, seeks to ensure its revitalization, and opposes the imposition of development interests over those of residents and New Yorkers at large.
Visit our website: SaveOurSeaport.org On Twitter: @SaveOurSeaport and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaveOurSeaport