Hon. Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President
1 Centre Street, 19th floor
New York, NY 10007
Hon. Margaret Chin
New York City Council Member
250 Broadway, Suite 1762
New York, NY 10007
Dear Borough President Brewer and Council Member Chin:
I strongly urge you to oppose the proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation to build a tower at 250 Water Street in violation of the 120-foot height limit in the South Street Seaport Historic District.
I believe this tower sets a dangerous precedent that everything in the historic district is negotiable if a developer pushes hard enough. It could undermine not only this district but others throughout the city.
As you know, the height limit established in 2003 was supported by all stakeholders in the area, including business groups and all local officials. This project is exactly what that zoning was meant to prevent! There is no viable reason to change it now, especially as Lower Manhattan already has a glut of unsold luxury apartments and unoccupied office space.
I understand that the Howard Hughes Corp. is pressuring local officials (indeed, all of us) to approve this inappropriate project in exchange for their support of the South Street Seaport Museum. I believe this kind of power play leads to bad decisions.
Instead of allowing the Howard Hughes Corp. to move Seaport District Development Rights to this site, I believe the City and Museum should work with the Community Board and the Seaport Coalition to move unused air rights to sites outside the district to generate revenue to support the Museum.
I also think it’s too risky for the Museum to depend on the Howard Hughes Corp.; a highly leveraged company in questionable financial health even before COVID-19.
I hope you will hold the line on this out-of-scale development, as you have in the past on the New Market site and on the Two Bridges super-tall projects.
Very Truly Yours,
cc: Mayor Bill de Blasio
Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor
Scott Stringer, Comptroller
Jerrold Nadler, Member of Congress
Brian Kavanagh, NYS Senator
Yuh-Line Niou, NYS Assemblymember
Anthony Notaro, Community Board 1