The Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed two new high-rise towers in Manhattan’s financial district at 250 Water Street. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently looking over the proposals, including an expansion of the South Street Seaport, located in the Financial District. The lead architect on the project will be Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), with consultation from historic preservation experts Higgins Quasebarth & Partners and supportive design services from JHPA.
What Are the Specifics of the High-Rise Plans?
Currently, the lot at 250 Water Street is undeveloped and has been for many years. It is situated on the edge of the South Street Seaport Historic District and is the size of one city block. The towers and expansion proposals will encompass the entire block and plot, with two 38-story towers and a low-rise podium. If all plans are approved, the overall height of the building could be as tall as 757,400 buildable square feet. Because the towers’ height may be a bit jarring compared to the landscape within the existing South Street Seaport Historic District, the towers will sit on a five-story podium and will be set back from the street.
What Is the Purpose of the Project?
These new high-rise towers will be multi-purpose and will be residences, community spaces, office buildings, and associated spaces. Residential spaces are the main focus of the project and will occupy the 11th through 34th floors, with residential amenities located on the 8th floor. This project is also heralded as the first affordable housing project built in Manhattan Community Board 1, accomplished through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. There will be 360 total residential units, with 25 percent of those deemed “affordable” to families earning less than the median income.
The project is also expected to bring 2,500 permanent jobs to the city and 2,000 construction jobs to complete the building. Mary Ann Tighe, member of HHC’s Board of Directors, and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Tri-State Region for CBRE, said, “We believe visionary projects like this will help propel the city’s economic recovery.” Also, the South Street Seaport Museum itself will also be renovated, after years of setback and loss.
What Are the Specifics of the Museum Expansion?
The South Street Seaport Museum is adjacent to the Water Street vacant lot and located at 12 Fulton Street. If the expansion is approved, the museum will extend through the now-vacant lots located at John and South Streets. According to the new proposals, the facade of the Museum would be changed to a punched copper, and it would be renovated to a six-story building with an outdoor roof deck that opens above John and South Streets.
The developer has also offered a $50 million contribution to the South Street Seaport Museum if the project is approved. However, a meeting was held on January 5, 2021. A group of residents called the Seaport Coalition are fighting against this development and instead want an NYPD tow pound moved to 250 Water Street instead.