Tower proposed for 250 Water, aka the mercury site

There is a lot more to be said about 250 Water, the site at the Seaport being developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation AND being watched like hawks by the parents at Peck Slip School, their Children First activist group on this topic and Save Our Seaport, the coalition of neighbors looking to preserve the character of the area. (The site was once a thermometer factory and is contaminated with mercury.) But for now, here are some conceptual drawings for the site, created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who are also doing a master plan for the Seaport. (All images are courtesy of SOM and the Howard Hughes Corporation.)

The idea is to create a mixed use building that would replace the potential development at the New Market building site on the water just north of the Tin Building (see rendering for that as well below). And it would add to the supertall towers cropping up downtown, though this one is in the heart of the South Street Seaport Historic District. More details below.

  • Howard Hughes has a lease on Pier 17 and the Tin Building, along with other properties around the Seaport, that have unused development rights
  • The plan would require the transfer of 700,000 square feet of those development rights, but since they are owned by the city, it would be a public procurement process and ULURP.
  • The site is currently zoned for 12 stories.
  • The concept drawings show a red-brick base at the same height as most Seaport buildings. (In the bird’s eye view below, the building is not shown.)
  • The tower above it could be between 570 and 900 feet tall (see image for that too).

If you click on any of the images, the caption will explain the view.


You can read more about the meeting where the design was presented at the Trib, or more from Curbed if you want to get into the zoning process.



  1. It looks like a giant printer cartridge or plastic shoebox LOL.

  2. Reminder that the parking lot at 250 Water Street is located in the South Street Seaport Historic District (protecting its low-scale character). In 2003 it was down zoned. It is NOT a receiving site for Seaport air rights. The former owners (Milstein) proposed nine different plans over 25 years that were rejected by the City. Our Seaport Coalition has a better plan.

  3. Why is there no rendering of what could be built as of right on this site? Are we expected to assume that the only choice to be made is between the over-sized structures presented? The street -level renderings are also remarkable, as if no one looked up, no one stood more than half a block away, and no tall building ever cast a shadow.
    A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. I would dismiss these renderings with only a few.

    • How helpful would a rendering of a 12-story building actually be?

      From the Trib: “Four years later the developer bought 250 Water Street for $180 million from Milstein Properties, a developer that had repeatedly failed over the years to win approvals for a tall building on the site. But its attempts led CB1 and others to fight a winning battle in 2003 to downzone the site to a maximum building height of 120 feet and thwart any future attempts for an out-of-scale project. It was a victory they say they won’t abandon, despite their desire to help the South Street Seaport Museum, which has yet to recover from Superstorm Sandy.”

  4. They seem to be ignoring the shadow casted by such a large building. The surrounding streets will as dark as Wall Street’s deep dark canyon of capitalism