Battle for the Heart of the Seaport

You know that huge parking lot in the Seaport, across the street from Peck Slip School? The Howard Hughes Corporation bought it for $180 million, learned the New York Post. HHC is the company developing the Seaport District, as the South Street Seaport mall is now known, and it has had extremely aggressive ideas about what’s appropriate for the historic area.

The previous owner, Millstein Properties, had tried to build on the lot, but the community thwarted it—eventually getting the city to “downzone” the Seaport in 2003, limiting the parking lot site (250 Water) to a 289,000-square-foot building at a maximum height of 120 feet. “However,” notes the Post, “HHC owns significant air rights at other nearby Seaport District properties it owns, which theoretically can be transferred to the parking lot site and allow a much larger building. HHC officials wouldn’t comment Monday on its plans for the vast, 1-acre site. But the company’s most recent annual report stated that HHC jointly controls with the city about 415,000 square feet of air rights from Pier 17 and the Tin Building, both of which it’s redeveloping, which ‘can be used in the [Seaport] district by obtaining discretionary approvals from the city.'”

Any attempt to build beyond what’s allowed as of right—let alone a tower—will undoubtedly face massive resistance from the area, because a substantial building on at 250 Water would seriously impact Peck Slip School, the Blue School, Southbridge Towers, Peck Slip Park, and what remains of the charming old Seaport on Front and other streets.



  1. so tired of these developers ruining our city and history

  2. Not really ruining anything since it is a parking lot, but I do hope that it is kept to a minimum height. I love skyscrapers, but when everything is just tall (like midtown), there is no rhythm to the city. Although I know nothing about real estate returns, a collection of townhouses would seem to have a better air of exclusivity while keeping in scale to the neighborhood.

  3. live across from it and dont’ want to see a building will still like to see the bridge and seaport. enough with the building!!!!