As New Yorkers File Their Taxes, The Howard Hughes Corporation Avoids Paying Millions In Property Taxes At The South Street Seaport

[Download Press Release]

New York, NY (April 14, 2015) – As millions of New Yorkers file their taxes in time for the April 15th deadline this week, Save Our Seaport is asking: “What is the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) paying in property taxes to the City of New York?”

According to New York City Department of Finance public records, zero taxes will be paid on the HHC property at 89 South Street, valued at $32,936,000 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). Additionally, another HHC property at 95 South Street, valued at $29,911,600 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) is also tax-free. (See supporting documents 1, 2, 3.)

“The Howard Hughes Corporation has gotten a sweetheart deal from the City of New York at the South Street Seaport which allows this exemption from real estate property taxes and pass-alongs,” said David Sheldon, a Save Our Seaport spokesperson. “Most of us pay our taxes on April 15th each year. What will the Howard Hughes Corporation pay in property taxes on that day or on any other day to the City of New York?”

The HHC has a pattern of negotiating for substantial public subsidies at other sites throughout the country. The company promises high-paying union jobs and significant economic stimulus that will result in revenue streams to government (sales taxes and ordinary income taxes). However, the corporation’s plans have not consistently delivered. In fact, since HHC took over the South Street Seaport in 2010, revenue has dwindled and there has been a net job loss.

“HHC would argue that they are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into new development, and repairs and maintenance at the South Street Seaport. The reality is they are paying zero property taxes in addition to having a lucrative deal that enables them to charge tenants hundreds of dollars per square foot (psf) while they pay less than $3.09 (psf),” said Sheldon.

 

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.

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Senator Squadron’s Community Convention and Save Our Seaport’s Next Meeting

Join us as Save Our Seaport attends State Senator Daniel Squadron’s seventh annual Community Convention this Sunday, April 12 on the Lower East Side. US Senator Chuck Schumer will be the keynote speaker.

We’re looking forward to meeting with our neighbors and our elected officials. We’ll be sharing our concerns for the future of the South Street Seaport, and our determination to see it survive and thrive for future generations!

(We might also be reminding new friends in Brooklyn that they could be hearing from the open air concerts Howard Hughes Corporation will present atop its planned Pier 17.)

This coming Thursday is the next Save Our Seaport public meeting. We will meet Thursday, April 16, at 6:30pm in the St. Margaret’s House Library, 49 Fulton Street. (Map)

The meeting will begin with a guest presentation from Mike Weiss, Waterfront Foreman of the South Street Seaport Museum, discussing the Museum’s presence, plans, and opportunities for participation in the South Street Seaport Historic District.

Please join us!

Click below for flyers with details of both Senator Squadron’s Convention and our meeting.

Squadron-Community-Convention-flyer-540

SOS-Meeting-Flyer-4.16.15-540

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[Updated] SOS Meeting with Special Guest Speaker / No Landmarks Date Set

Update:

Save Our Seaport will postpone our meeting of April 8 in order to avoid any schedule conflicts with Borough President Gale Brewer’s celebration of 50 Years of NYC Landmarks.  We’ll look forward to seeing each other at the U.S. Custom House that night!

Save Our Seaport will be meeting Thursday, April 16, at 6:30pm in the St. Margaret’s House Library, 49 Fulton Street. (Map)

The meeting will begin with a guest presentation from Mike Weiss, Waterfront Foreman of the South Street Seaport Museum, discussing the Museum’s presence, plans, and opportunities for participation in the South Street Seaport Historic District.

* * * * *

The Landmarks Preservation Commission calendar still shows no hearing date for the Howard Hughes Corporation applications for the Seaport. This doesn’t mean the hearing won’t happen, only that it has not yet been scheduled.

We’re keeping our eyes open, and our testimony ready!

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From BatteryPark.tv: City’s EDC head, Kyle Kimble, steps down, dealing blow to Howard Hughes Corp’s Seaport and tourist helicopters

From BatteryPark.TV, March 26, 2015:

Kyle Kimball, heads up the EDC for New York City

Kyle Kimball, heads up the EDC for New York City

The WSJ is reporting that head of the EDC, Kyle Kimball, is stepping down. This will have major ramifications to Downtown.

The main advocate of the status quo with the noisy tourist helicopters was the EDC’s Kyle Kimball. The main ally in the city for Howard Hughes Corp’s South Street Seaport development plans was also Mr. Kimball.

http://www.batterypark.tv/neighborhoods/bpca/citys-edc-head-kyle-kimble-steps-down-dealing-blow-to-howard-hughes-corps-seaport-and-tourist-helicopters.html

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Save Our Seaport Announces New Information Documenting Howard Hughes Corporation’s Intent To Build A ‘Mega Tower’ Adjacent To South Street Seaport

Click to download full Press Release (PDF)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SAVE OUR SEAPORT ANNOUNCES NEW INFORMATION DOCUMENTING HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION’S INTENT TO BUILD A ‘MEGA TOWER’ ADJACENT TO SOUTH STREET SEAPORT

New York, NY (March 22, 2015) – Save Our Seaport, a grassroots organization currently defending the South Street Seaport Historic District against the Howard Hughes Corporation’s (HHC) stalled 1.5 billion dollar development proposal today announced new information documenting the developer’s intent to build a “mega tower” adjacent to the South Street Seaport.

In a letter to shareholders on March 13, 2015, the Howard Hughes Corporation publicly disclosed the acquisition of property and air rights from 161-163 Front Street, 167 Front Street, 175 Front Street. 164 John Street, 205-207 Front Street, 2 Fulton Street, 89 and 94 South Street. In the last quarter of 2014 they acquired properties at 80 and 83-85 South Street (see attached).

“The Howard Hughes Corporation has been busily assembling properties on the immediate outskirts of the South Street Seaport Historic District, that may allow them to build the largest residential mixed-use building in North America “as-of-right,” said David Sheldon, a Save Our Seaport spokesperson.

Michael Kramer, a Save Our Seaport member who recently participated in the currently disbanded Seaport Working Group noted that “we did ask HHC to find an alternative site for the inappropriate 42-Story Seaport Tower development which would replace the historic New Market Building. They certainly took on this task with “Texas-Sized” enthusiasm,” assembling properties that were merely adjacent to the low-rise Nineteenth Century Seaport buildings.”

The HHC’s proposed “Seaport District Assemblage” may even be taller than 1 World Trade Center (without the antenna) utilizing 818,000 square feet on South Street between John and Fletcher Streets The building located at 432 Park Avenue may only briefly hold the distinction of being New York City’s largest “mega-tower” coming in at 1396’ tall with 745,174 square feet on West 56th Street.

The existing C5-3 zoning encourages tall buildings in Lower Manhattan, but a most favored FAR of 15 to maximize the development opportunity could only be achieved by including a community facility such as a school into its design (and an additional 20% could be added with a “plaza bonus”).

Manhattan Community Board One has consistently asked local developers to include more school seats and a community recreation center in their plans in order to improve the quality of life of existing residents and new arrivals.

“If this redevelopment plan continues, children playing in the multi-million dollar Imagination Playground on Burling Slip will have to use their imagination to see any sunlight after Howard Hughes builds its mega tower”, remarked Bridget Schuy, a local parent and Save Our Seaport member.

table

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

MEDIA CONTACT:
Patricia Jones
saveourseaportmedia@gmail.com

Click to download full Press Release (PDF)

 

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Save Our Seaport Offers An Alternate Vision For The Future Of The Tin And New Market Buildings At New York City’s Historic South Street Seaport

(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.

[Download Press Release]

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Select an operator (via an RFP process) e.g. the New Amsterdam Market, to operate an indoor/outdoor destination Public Market. Encourage waterborne activity.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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

MEDIA CONTACT:
Patricia Jones
SaveOurSeaportMedia@Gmail.com

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SOS Meeting Thursday February 26th

The next SOS meeting will be on Thursday, February 26th in the Library at St Margaret’s House, 49 Fulton Street, 6:30 PM. (Map)

We’ll be preparing testimony for the Landmarks Preservation Commission (no date yet!).

And we will also start to assemble our own vision of what we want the Seaport Historic District to be.

Please join us!

SOS-Meeting-Flyer-2.26.15

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