Seaport tower will proceed after court’s ruling

Howard Hughes Holdings Inc. — the developer of the entire block at 250 Water in the South Street Seaport Historic District — won a ruling this week allowing it to move forward with the plans for the site, that being a 27-story mixed-use project designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with 4oo units of housing.

The lawsuit was brought by the South Street Seaport Coalition on the basis that during the de Blasio administration, approvals for the building were coordinated between the mayor’s office, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the developer, where they used lawyers and lobbyists to “craft a strategy of political cover to taint or corrupt the LPC process and obtain a predetermined result.” The coalition won in the lower court, but lost on appeal.

“For too long, the lot at 250 Water St. has been an underutilized part of the Seaport,” Howard Hughes CEO David O’Reilly said in a statement. The decision, he said, “paves the way for Seaport Entertainment Group to begin construction on a vibrant, mixed-use project that will be a significant contribution to the neighborhood.”

The site, which has been an empty lot for decades — I think since the mid-1970s — is firmly in the Seaport Historic District, yet plans were allowed to move forward on a project that blows through the height limits set for the district.

Plans first emerged in 2019 and went back and forth for all these years: the project was at first rejected by Landmarks, then reduced in size, then approved in 2021. The lawsuits started the next year, and were won by neighbors then ultimately lost this week. Excavation started in early 2023. Originally the development was pushed through with a cash payment to the Seaport Museum as a carrot; I need to follow up to see if that is still part of the deal. The project will generate $50 million in funding for the South Street Seaport Museum, with $40 million generated by 250 Water Street and an additional $10 million committed by the City of New York.

And the Seaport Coalition, made up of tenants from Southbridge Towers, Save Our Seaport and Children First, is done — for now. “We have exhausted our legal options on this particular lawsuit. Yes, the money has won,” said CB1 member Michael Kramer. “Our coalition is weighing other strategies to create a better outcome.”

Here are the final specs:

  • 27-story tower with a five-story base
  • around 540K square feet
  • 324 feet tall
  • 400 units (300 market rate rentals, 100 affordable at an average of 40 percent of Area Median Income)
  • office and community space
  • nearby open space improvements



  1. I would say this building does not fit in with the neighborhood character as it is too short for the Financial District.

    Just another example of why NYC will never build enough housing to actually solve our housing crisis.

  2. Glad to see that the greedy owners in Southbridge, who bought affordable housing at below market rates and permanently removed housing from the affordable market, have spent millions to lose this lawsuit. I hope they enjoy their morning shade from the low-income housing units across the street.

  3. Can’t wait for:

    More crowds on the already dangerous narrow platform at Fulton Street 2/3.
    More packed M15 buses.
    More ecommerce, food delivery and Uber generated by the new upscale residents.

    • Exactly, beyond greedy are these southbridge residents paying practically nothing for maintenance and parking. They bought a Mitchell Lama coop for $10,000, privatized after 20 years so no one else could afford their apartment now selling for $750,000. Enjoy losing the views you shouldn’t have had in the first place.