NEW YORK CITY-After meeting with some community pushback on its plan to redevelop the South Street Seaport, Howard Hughes Corp. has struck a unique partnership with local officials and other impacted parties to get residents onboard with the project before moving forward.
The company announced Tuesday it has agreed to wait—for however long it takes—for recommendations from the newly formed “Seaport working group,” which is comprised of Manhattan borough president Gail Brewer; Margaret Chin, the area’s City Council representative; members of neighborhood advocacy groups and the community board, residents, area business owners and Howard Hughes staffers. Assembly apeaker Sheldon Silver will host the first meeting on Thursday.
At issue is Hughes’ plan to build a residential and hotel tower on the site of the current South Street Seaport market building. There’s also been some disagreement over how to best preserve the marina as well as the area’s museum. This new effort to include the community will help the developer educate area residents and other constituents on its plan and why it likely would benefit the community. However, the group also will educate Hughes executives on the community’s concerns.
“Community engagement has been central to our stewardship of the Seaport from the beginning, and we see the community advisory board as a great step forward for the project and for the future of the Seaport,” says Chris Curry, senior EVP for the Howard Hughes Corp. “We believe this process will help inform our efforts to create a comprehensive master plan for the Seaport that satisfies important community objectives.”
Another portion of the project, the rebuilding of Pier 17, already has received approval and construction has begun. In a previous announcement with the City Council, Howard Hughes Corp. said it would incorporate a locally and regionally sourced food market at the development later this year. The food market will be open to the public seven days a week.
Additionally, the city mandated that any proposal for a mixed-use project at the Seaport’s Tin Building—which formerly housed the Fulton Fish Market—must include a food market of at least 10,000 square feet that similarly features locally and regionally sourced food items from multiple vendors.
Notes Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver who will take part in the community group, “It has been clear from the beginning that there must be an open, transparent and community-driven process for redeveloping this area.”
Adds congressman Jerry Nadler, another group participant, “I am hopeful that the voices of all of the stakeholders will be heard and that by fostereing a robust conversation on guiding principles for development of this waterfront asset, the final plan for the area will be truly reflective of the needs of residents, business owners and institutions Downtown.”