Posts tagged with "South Street Seaport":

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New York City Council Approves SHoP-Designed Pier 17 Makeover at the South Street Seaport

Last Wednesday, the New York City Council unanimously approved plans to tear down the current Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport and build a new $200 million SHoP Architects-designed mall in its place, marking the end of the long and sometimes contentious ULURP approval process. Crain's reported that Dallas-based developer Howard Hughes made some concessions to the council including pushing back construction on the project to allow Hurricane Sandy-battered tenants to have an additional summer season, with construction now anticipated to begin on October 1st. SHoP's design calls for a mix of boutique and large retail spaces inside the 250,000-square-foot facility connected by open air pedestrian corridors. Large glass garage doors can be lowered during inclement weather to protect these open spaces. The new building will be capped with an occupiable green roof. As part of the City Council approval, the developers will also build two new food markets adjacent to the new structure in the old Link and Tin Buildings. The project is expected to be complete by 2015. Besides Pier 17, SHoP is also designing another waterfront mall in Staten Island called the Harbor Commons.  
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Uncertainty Shrouds New York’s Plans For a Permanent Food Market at the Seaport

It seems that a proposal to make the New Amsterdam Market a permanent fixture in the South Street Seaport's former Fulton Fish Market building has every food critic and preservationist in New York City revved up, and touting the plan as the next big game-changing development for Lower Manhattan. New York Times opinion and food columnist Mark Bittman went so far as to say that this expansive food market has “wonderful potential that dwarfs even that of the High Line.” Robert LaValva, a former city planner, first launched the market in 2005 after the fish market relocated to the Bronx. He looked around and realized that, unlike a number of cities, New York City didn’t have a large-scale food hall or market. And so he modeled his vision to create a permanent food market in the Tin and New Market buildings after places such as Pikes Market in Seattle, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or Les Halles in Paris. Today the City Council is holding a public hearing to determine the future of the South Street Seaport. The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), the developer that rents Pier 17 next to the Fulton Fish Market, has enlisted SHoP Architects to redesign the struggling 250,000-square-foot mall. The plan calls for new boutiques, restaurants, rooftop shops, a concert venue and museum. But the question remains whether these changes will extend to the Tin and New Market buildings that once housed the old Fulton Fish Market, and is now the temporary weekend home of New Amsterdam Market. Supporters of the food market are concerned that the overhaul of Pier 17 could pave the way for development on the former site of the fish market and have launched an online petition to bolster their cause. HHC, however, hasn’t indicated any plans to raze or rebuild at the site.
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Video> Ben & Jane Thompson Tour Seaport, circa 1981

While combing the web for info on the early days of the South Street Seaport's Pier  17AN came across a Youtube video of Ben & Jane Thompson discussing plans for redeveloping the upland and the piers near Fulton Fish Market.  The short video, circa 1981, certainly puts the current debate on SHoP's new design into historical focus, particularly when Ben Thompson speaks of retaining the now long gone market.
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South Street Seaport Preservationistas: Oh no! PoMo Don’t Go!

The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose. The SHoP-designed tectonic glass response to Ben Thompson’s wood-clad gables of the exiting 1985 Pier 17 building is a clear break from the past, both literally and figuratively. SHoP’s Gregg Pasquarelli didn’t mince words when he told the New York Times “We’re taking away the po-mo and making it a real waterfront market building.” But Thompson, who died in 2002, had plenty of defenders on hand yesterday, including a statement from his wife Jane Thompson, who warned that real estate in the new plan “will inevitably rise to premium rates; privatization will intensify, which forces a turn to luxury retail.” Elise Quasebarth, of the preservation consultancy group Higgins Quasebarth, testified on behalf of Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer, that many of the upland elements planned in conjunction with the 1980s "festival marketplace" are still fundamentally robust. The SHoP worked with James Corner Field Operations to further integrate the street grid through a north-south connection to the East River Waterfront Esplanade and east-west connections to Beekman and Fulton streets. But the deal between NYC Economic Development Corporation and Howard Hughes has a distinct cutoff point at the so-called Tin Building. The empty 1907 structure, which formerly housed a market, sits at the river’s edge where the pier juts into the river. Though the plan has the support of Community Board 1, the board did encourage a master plan that carries through the entire South Street Seaport Historic District. Further complicating matters, the district actually cuts through half of Pier 17. The board resolved the districting by extending the boundary to incorporate the north section of the pier as well. The concern was driven home by local wine merchant Marco Pasanella who testified that the uplands should be considered as part and parcel pier plan and that only a “holistic” approach would work, particularly while the pier is under construction. Pasanella said the big picture should ensure that the plan attract similar tenants and “the right sort of visitors." Speaking on behalf of the Howard Hugh’s Corporation, senior executive vice president Chris Curry said the taking the nearby elements into account, particularly the Tin Building, would require a separate ULURP.  He added that the company wants to make an immediate investment, though that wouldn't preclude additional investments down the line. For the time being however, the cutoff point leaves a few of Thompson’s gables left at the back of the pier. Pasquarelli said they would be painted a uniform color to visually drop away. The gables would still function as a mask for mechanical equipment. If all goes as planned, a little slice of PoMo might survive after all.      
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Quick Clicks> Fun in the Sun, Sun-Filled Fast, Transit Trending, and LEGO Gate

Solar-Powered Fun. New York City’s first solar merry-go-round just opened at the South Street Seaport, offering free rides to kids through September 7th. GE's Carousolar is powered by 100 solar panels made of ultra thin semiconductors able to withstand extreme humidity and UV ray exposure. The green fun isn't just for kids—GE also provided solar-powered cell phone charging stations for adults around the carousel, reported Inhabitat. Sun-Filled Fasting. According to Dubai’s top cleric Mohammed al-Qubaisi, residents of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper, will have to wait a few extra minutes to break their fast during Ramadan. Muslims living above the tower's 80th floor should fast two additional minutes after dusk while those above the 150th floor wait an additional three minutes, The Guardian reported. Al-Qubaisi explained that just like early Muslims living in the mountains, the residents of the highest floors must adjust their fast due to the extended visibility of sunlight. #ThingsNotToDoOnPublicTransportation. Public Transportation is trending on Twitter and the end result is a humorous user guide to transit etiquette. Transportation Nation rounded up some of their family-friendly favorites. LEGO Gate. While not yet officially announced, European blogs have been abuzz that the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be the next in LEGO's Architecture line of miniature real buildings. Unbeige revealed the series’ designer Adam Reed Tucker developed the Brandenburg model, representing the 2nd building outside of the US (the first was SOM’s Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai).
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SHoP Floats

One of the many flashy architecture projects believed to have been killed off by the recession was SHoP's highly impressionistic proposal for the waterfront portion of the South Street Seaport. The bankruptcy of mall owner and would-be developer General Growth Properties seemed to scuttle plans for the sail-and-net-inspired complex, but having emerged from court protection, GGP is evaluating what to do with its remaining properties and it appears SHoP may once again be in the mix. The company is being spun off into two pieces following its bankruptcy, with the one made up of mixed-use and development-worthy projects getting a $6.55 billion infusion from three outside investors. It remains up to this new person what to do with the Seaport, but a GGP spokesperson tells Downtown Express, “Presumably the new company would continue to pursue the highest, best use of that property, which we felt was the proposal we put out." Should the project return, there is still the issue of appeasing the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which saw it as more barnacle than beautiful.
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Not So Fast, Seaport Edition

The news that General Growth Properties--which is on the verge of bankruptcy due to a massive debt-load related to its acquisition of the Rouse Company in 2004--put three historic properties up for sale has led some observers to speculate that development plans for one of them--New York's South Street Seaport--have hit the dustbin. Not so, AN has learned. Two sources have confirmed that the project is not for sale, as has been widely reported, but instead that the developer is seeking an equity partner to help keep the Seaport plan afloat through these choppy economic waters. In fact, they still expect the plan to go before the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission for another review in early 2009 as originally scheduled, which commission spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon also confirmed. "The status of the seaport is that the application remains active at this time," she wrote in an email. And in a statement, GGP re-emphasized its commitment to the project:
Jim Graham, senior director of public affairs, General Growth Properties, Thursday said:  “South Street Seaport is among a group of properties for which General Growth is seeking partners, investors or buyers. We intend to continue working with the City of New York on a plan for the property’s development that they and the community will embrace.”
In the end, the project's fate remains up in the air at the moment, like so much else in the development world. Which is all the more reason not to jump to any conclusions. As for the other two properties involved--Baltimore's Harbor Place and Boston's Faneuil Hall--the latter may have just become worth a little bit more, having been recently honored with the 25 Year Award by the AIA.
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Rough Sailing

Thirty-five cents. One quarter, one dime. That's how much—or how little—it cost to buy one share of stock in General Growth Properties at the end of trading today. It's been a rough year for the 54-year-old mall developer and operator as it stock has tumbled—in concert with the real estate and retail markets—from a high of $67 per share in March 2007. Yet that stock was still valued at $38 as recently as June 18, when the company announced its plans for new South Street Seaport. Even when it presented those plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 21, when the stocked closed at $4.84, GGP remained confident in the future of the project. But that was before Monday's report in The Wall Street Journal that General Growth might file for bankruptcy. Bloomberg News blames the problems on the company's $11.3 billion leveraged buyout of the Rouse Companies in 2004. "They took a big, big gamble, and it did not pay off," real estate analyst Richard Moore told the financial news service. What, then, does this mean for the Seaport project? Nothing, insisted Jim Graham, a company spokesman:
Regardless of our situation, our properties and company will continue to operate, stay vibrant and remain open.  We are looking forward to a prosperous holiday season. [As for the seaport:] Our intent is to continue as developer, that’s why we have invested so much in working with world-class planning experts and with the community to create our proposals.  Our plan for the South Street Seaport  sets the course for the future.  Getting the plan in place protects the community against market cycles by setting the framework for development over a multi-year window.   Approving the plan now sets the stage for development later when the economy improves.