Howard Hughes Corp. pays $31M for Seaport air rights

JPMorgan Chase operates special air-rights bank

TRD New York /
Feb.February 11, 2015 04:40 PM

UPDATED, February 13, 12:35 p.m.: The Howard Hughes Corp. paid roughly $31 million to buy more than 300,000 square feet of air rights at the South Street Seaport, property records filed yesterday show.

The Dallas, Texas-based development firm, whose proposed 42-story residential tower on the East River is a source of controversy, paid $30.8 million to buy 333,329 square feet of air rights from a consortium of banks that owns the air rights above the South Street Seaport Museum and a handful of properties on the block north of Front Street, property records filed yesterday show.

While air-rights transfers are generally restricted to adjacent properties, the city created a special transfer district over the seaport area intended to preserve its historic character. The district allows property owners to sell their unused rights to a bank, which can in turn sell them off to developers.

The seller was listed as JPMorgan Chase, which acts as an agent for the bank.

The seaport area itself, which Hughes controls through a land-lease with the city, is in a state of disrepair, and the developer has submitted a $305 million proposal that includes infrastructure improvements and public-investment benefits, as well as the luxury tower.

The controversial project, which has already been scaled back, is being met with strong community opposition, notably from local Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

The Hughes corporation has no immediate plans for the air rights.

Senior Executive Vice President Chris Curry said the company’s “immediate priority is the rebuilding of Pier 17 – bringing transformational dining, shopping, entertainment, and cultural experiences that will draw New Yorkers back to the district – and advancing our proposed mixed-use project and $305 million worth of vital infrastructure and community investments.”

This post was updated to include a statement from the Howard Hughes Corporation.

Correction: The air rights were not transferred to a specific receiving site.

Related Articles

The Daily Digest - Tuesday

WeWork bonds hit low, new LLC legislation went farther than intended: Daily digest

Clockwise from top left: The Watchtower building at 25 Columbia Heights, Long Island University at 1 University Plaza, The Rheingold at 10 Montieth Street and 871 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn (Credit: Wikipedia and Google Maps)

These were the top 10 outer borough loans last month

Banks see uptick in mortgages, but remain wary ahead of potential Fed interest rate cut

Clockwise from top left: 54 Crown Street, 451 10th Avenue, 46-09 69th Street and 270 Park Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

The top 10 biggest real estate projects coming to NYC

Howard Hughes CEO David R. Weinreb and South Street Seaport (Credit: NYCgo)

Amid talks of company sale, Howard Hughes lands $250M loan for Seaport project

Developer Howard Hughes mulls sale amid continued financial uncertainty

Mack Real Estate Group's Richard Mack and JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon with a rendering of 123 Melrose Street (Credit: Getty Images and ODA Architecture)

Yoel Goldman sews up long-term funds for Rheingold Brewery Project

The site (left) and a rendering of 80 South Street (Credit: Google Maps; rendering via YIMBY by ATCHAIN)

China Oceanwide takes out $175M loan against supertall Seaport site