Howard Hughes wins key legal battle at 270-unit Seaport tower

Coalition took aim at 270-unit residential project in historic district

New York /
Oct.October 06, 2021 10:01 AM
Howard Hughes wins key legal battle at 270-unit Seaport tower

250 Water Street in Manhattan and Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David O’Reilly (Howard Hughes, Google Maps)

A judge this week served a legal defeat to a coalition opposing a proposed tower for the South Street Seaport Historic District.

Judge Arthur Engoron dismissed a lawsuit filed in May from Save Our Seaport, the South Street Seaport Coalition and Children First, which contested a proposed tower at 250 Water Street was approved illegally and under unfair influence from city officials. Crain’s New York first reported on the decision, in which Engoron claimed the commission’s approval was “not ripe for judicial review.”

The latest proposal from the Howard Hughes Corporation for its tower included 25 stories and 270 residential units: 190 at market-rate and 80 designated as affordable. Those features on the $850 million, 540,000-square-foot project are concessions from an earlier proposal featuring 38 stories and 360 units.

The project earned approval from the Landmarks Preservation Committee in May.

The proposal process proved controversial, as The Real Deal previously reported, with some claiming the development would bring much-needed affordable housing to the area and help prop up the Seaport Museum. Others claim the design’s size would stand out for all the wrong reasons in the historic district.

Howard Hughes has pledged $50 million to the struggling museum, but hasn’t yet finalized the money’s delivery. Without a plan in place, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer withheld support.

In a statement after the decision, the group said the loss didn’t have anything to do with the merits of the case.

“The advantage to us for having ‘lost’ the motion is that we will now have the opportunity to take advantage of the additional time to further craft, enhance, supplement and polish our pleadings that we will file,” Seaport Coalition Attorney Saul Shapiro said in a release.

Howard Hughes bought the property in 2018 for $180 million with dreams of revamping the long-time site of a parking lot. Development attempts from Milstein Properties, the site’s previous owner, failed to gain local support and approval.

[Crain’s] — Holden Walter-Warner





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