New York, NY (November 6, 2015) – “There will be no tall (Seaport) tower on the New Market site ”says an Howard Hughes Corporation (“HHC”) spokeswoman.
“That is not happening.” (As quoted in Thursday’s New York Post).
Save Our Seaport’s Michael Kramer said that the grassroots group was encouraged by today’s announcement. “Both the Seaport Working Group and Manhattan Community Board One have strongly opposed inappropriate development at the historic Old Fish Market site. We echo their call to extend the South Street Seaport Historic District to include the New Market Building, that further there be no “tower” on that site, and ask for a Master Planning Process to find a way to re-use this unique structure and its location to honor its maritime history with a water dependent or enhancing use.”
David Sheldon of Save Our Seaport added: “there is a certain sense of promise as we see our years of advocacy for the South Street Seaport Historic District finally bearing fruit.”
Save Our Seaport, a grassroots organization developed by South Street Seaport Museum volunteers and former staff and joined by local concerned citizens, is fighting the Howard Hughes Corporation’s (“HHC”) proposed redevelopment plans at New York City’s historic port, which would otherwise result in debasement of the city’s only lasting tribute to the city’s seafaring heritage.
The NYC Economic Development Corporation had been charged with maintaining the New Market Building, since the relocation of the Fish Market to Hunters Point in 2005. The “Seaport Speaks” workshop attended by all stakeholders back then, made a series of recommendations; which fell on deaf ears during the Bloomberg Administration.
Unfortunately, the New Market Building has been allowed to fall into an extreme state of disrepair, post-Sandy. NYCEDC has just announced that they will make emergency repairs in November to stabilize and maintain the building and the pier infrastructure.
After emerging from Bankruptcy Court in 2010, the Howard Hughes Corporation was given a “sweetheart” lease deal by the NYCEDC to spearhead Seaport redevelopment. HHC pays the City less than $3.50 psf while demanding market rents from their retail tenants.
According to the New York Post article, “the original plan, which had at times called for a tower as tall as 50 stories, drew significant opposition from community and preservation groups who vowed to derail it. That may have worked.”
Save Our Seaport continues to call for a transparent and public planning process to find a new use for this iconic building and site. The Seaport should reclaim its history as NYC’s maritime market district, a place of exchange where the East River meets the Harbor – with the museum and its ships, its historic buildings and the water’s edges supported, reinvented and reconnected to other citywide efforts along the Harbor District. The South Street Seaport district is unique and irreplaceable and therefore must be valued in any city transaction as a cultural resource.
About Save Our Seaport
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.