NEW YORK CITY — The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) has unveiled plans for a $1.4 billion multifamily project in Manhattan’s Seaport District.
The proposal calls for the transformation of a full-block surface parking lot along the boundary of the South Street Seaport Historic District into a mixed-income development that would include some of the area’s first new affordable housing in decades. The development would ultimately feature 360 apartments, about 25 percent of which would be affordable, as well as 260 condominium units.
In terms of the multifamily component, the centerpiece is 250 Water Street, where Dallas-based HHC plans to develop at least 100 affordable apartments that would be reserved for households earning 40 percent or less of the area median income. Only 2.5 percent of all housing in the Seaport District qualifies as affordable, and the median household income is more than $150,000.
The project would also rehabilitate the historic South Street Seaport Museum, which has faced numerous obstacles over the past two decades, including a two-year closure following 9/11, flooding from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and an existential threat to attendance from COVID-19.
In addition, HHC would develop a new museum building on an adjacent vacant lot. The proposal also includes enhancements to the Peck Slip Play Street used by the neighboring Peck Slip School and Seaport families, as well as community-oriented spaces and office space.
“As New York City works to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, we are redoubling our commitment to the city and the Seaport,” says Saul Scherl, president of the New York Tri-State region at HHC. “We aim to be part of the solution by investing in this unique, historic neighborhood and its economy, providing a crucial lifeline to the Seaport Museum, and building affordable housing in an area where housing prices are out of reach for most New Yorkers.”
Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is handling design of both the new multifamily and museum buildings. According to the development team, construction of the project will generate more than $1.8 billion in economic output annually for both the city and the state, $640 million in new labor income and roughly 2,000 construction jobs.
HHC’s next step in the development timeline is to undertake a comprehensive public review that will provide numerous opportunities for community engagement and public comment under the city’s public land use review process. HHC plans to submit the proposal to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in December and to begin the land use review process next spring. Under that timeline, construction would begin in 2022.
The developer’s stock price opened at $63.74 per share on Monday, Oct. 26, down from $111.98 per share a year ago.
— Taylor Williams