From the NY Times:
South Street Seaport, an often-neglected corner of Manhattan dedicated to enshrining New York’s seafaring past, has been battered by storms, recessions and poor management.
Now, there is a proposal for a major redevelopment of the cobblestone streets, 19th-century brick buildings and piers that would include the reconstruction of the landmark Tin Building and the addition of a marina and a 50-story hotel and apartment tower.
The Howard Hughes Corporation, which controls the seaport under a lease with the city, says it wants to enliven the area and establish a destination for both tourists and New Yorkers.
It is unclear how a glassy tower on the north side of Pier 17 would fit into the historical fabric of the area, but Howard Hughes contends that the building would be the “economic engine” that would allow for the rehabilitation of the crumbling piers and nearby buildings.
The proposal, the company said, will include a still-to-be-determined rescue plan for the financially ailing Seaport Museum, and the sailing ships at Pier 17, which are slowly sinking into the East River.
“The re-envisioned seaport district will transform the piers’ iconic waterfront setting into a vibrant, highly engaging area,” said David R. Weinreb, chief executive of Howard Hughes, “while providing a critical catalyst for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan.”
The company is to unveil its preliminary plan for the first time on Tuesday to local residents and members of Community Board 1, which includes the seaport.
Howard Hughes, which would triple the size of its operations, had hoped to continue negotiating in secret with the city’s Economic Development Corporation while it completed its proposal. But demands by local officials and residents for a more open design process forced the company to make the plans public.
The company’s proposal must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Council before construction can start.