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.
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.