Seaport tower plan could be Dead in the water

| 09 Nov 2015 | 04:32

Has Howard Hughes folded on its Seaport tower proposal?

A spokesperson for the Howard Hughes Corp. recently indicated that the Texas-based mega-developer has abandoned its plan for a luxury residential high-rise on the South Street Seaport.

“There will be no tall tower on the New Market site,” a Howard Hughes spokesperson was quoted as saying in a New York Post article about development on the Seaport. “That is not happening.”

For more two years, Howard Hughes has tried unsuccessfully to convince the community and local officials that a luxury residential high-rise at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is a necessary component to their redevelopment plans, and would pay for the rehabilitation of the Seaport and other community benefits.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilwoman Margaret Chin came out against Howard Hughes’ latest proposal, announced late last year, which included plans for a 500-foot, 150-unit luxury residential tower. The company planned to use the revenue generated by the tower to build a new middle school and 70 units of affordable housing on Schermerhorn Row.

After the impasse, company officials said they were working on another proposal, but little was known about that plan until last week’s Post article. When reached for comment, a Howard Hughes spokesperson would not say that the company was abandoning their tower plan, and instead provided a statement from a Howard Hughes executive saying the company would be releasing a revised proposal.

“As we’ve said for the last several months, we are working on a revised mixed-use development plan in light of feedback from elected officials and the community,” Chris Curry, executive vice-president of development for Howard Hughes said in the statement. “We remain fully committed to the Seaport District and we will be presenting a revised plan soon.”

Opponents of the tower proposal seem to be regarding the news as a victory. Save Our Seaport, the main opposition group to Howard Hughes’ vision for the Seaport, released a statement after the news broke touting the Howard Hughes’ spokesperson’s quote to the Post.

“There is a certain sense of promise as we see our years of advocacy for the South Street Seaport Historic District finally bearing fruit,” SOS member David Sheldon said in the statement.