South Street Seaport – At risk yet again – but not from another Hurricane

    In June 2018, the Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) bought the 250 Water St. site (currently a parking lot) that lies within the South Street Seaport Historic District, and comes with landmark district protection and a contextual zoning height limit of 120 feet.+ After years of a segmented development approach, HHC – with visions of a tower soaring skyward over the Seaport – now decided that it was time to engage the community in its master planning for the Seaport.  To buy support for a tower on the 250 Water St. site,  HHC was ready with offers of any number of the usual public benefits in exchange.     In late summer 2018, preservation advocates, Seaport area residents, and parents and representatives of nearby schools came together over concerns regarding the development of the 250 Water St. site and the surrounding Seaport area, and the current Seaport Coalition was formed.     With the future of public assets again at stake, coalition members decided that the public should be the ones guiding public asset development, not filtered through a developer’s private agenda. This led to the release in November 2019 of the Seaport Coalition Strategic Plan.     The plan draws on and incorporates elements of a long history of advocacy for the Seaport as an invaluable public asset, with the bottom line for 250 Water St – 120 ft.         HHC had a tower in its hands after it assembled its 80 South St Development Site in 2014-15.  In 2016, it let it slip away, sold to another developer.          Some pages from the Seaport Coalition Plan are attached.

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