What’s next for a 50-year-old parking lot in NYC’s oldest neighborhood?

250 Water Street has long been a battleground, but now a project is on track for approval

Large, undeveloped sites in Manhattan are rare. But even by that standard, the 48,000-square-foot parcel at 250 Water Street is exceptional. It sits in the South Street Seaport historic district and on the border of the Financial District, one of the priciest real estate markets on the planet.

The site is not empty for lack of trying. A previous owner, Milstein Properties, made several attempts to develop it, only to fail because of opposition from locals and the Landmark Preservation Commission.

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But after a $180 million purchase in 2018 by the Howard Hughes Corporation, and still more rejected proposals, the company won Landmarks’ backing for a substantial project. As the proposal moves through the public review process toward a vote by the City Council, the community remains divided.

This video traces the site’s turbulent history and stakeholders’ arguments for and against Howard Hughes’ development plan.