South Street Seaport community fears new tower

Though the city’s Economic Development Corp. approved Howard Hughes Corp.’ overhaul of the South Street Seaport retail complex, the local community was quick to tell Downtown Express that it’s far from a done deal. The project still has to undergo the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which usually endures for seven months, and there are still significant concerns, according to Michael Levine who directs Land Use and Planning for local Community Board 1.

The ULURP board will raise questions as to what the community would get in exchange for approving the complex, work to ensure there is enough open space and demand assurances that Howard Hughes has the financial wherewithal to complete the project. But it’s main concern is a master plan for the South Street Seaport area, which Howard Hughes has declined to provide.

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“I think their master plan, which they don’t want to talk about right now, is probably going to include a tower on the site of the Tin Building and the New Market Building, which our community, of course, is going to be opposed to,” said John Fratta, who heads CB1’s Seaport Committee.

While Howard Hughes does not currently own the buildings, it has an agreement with the EDC to gain control of the properties, according to Fratta, who said the community supports an alternate proposal to expand the New Amsterdam Market into a permenant feature of the existing structures. [Downtown Express] — Adam Fusfeld