Agreement To Delay Pier 17 Construction Until Fall Will Help Shops and Restaurants Recover From Hurricane Sandy
The New York City Council unanimously approved developer Howard Hughes Corp.'s plan to transform the dated South Street Seaport on Pier 17 on the East River into an upscale shopping and dining center.
The council approved the plans after Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC
) agreed to delay eviction of current tenants and construction until after the summer season, giving Lower Manhattan merchants a chance to recoup proceeds and recover from the economic effects of Hurricane Sandy.
HHC Chief Executive David R. Weinreb said the council's go-ahead for the company’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is "an important step forward" for a redeveloped South Street Seaport.
"I am particularly pleased because the redevelopment will have a catalytic effect on Lower Manhattan and help the area continue to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy," Weinreb said.
The existing South Street Seaport includes a collection of historic buildings, cobblestone streets and an 285,000-square-foot power center built in 1983. Many businesses remain closed because of the hurricane in late October that caused at least $75 billion damage concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic states.
While the area is beginning to come back to life, an earlier start of construction sparked concerns that businesses would stay closed and summer visitors would stay away.
The city and HHC agreed to delay construction until after Labor Day following the traditionally busy summer to support the Seaport district in regaining its vitality over the upcoming summer season, said Chris Curry, senior executive vice president for Howard Hughes.
Kyle Kimball, executive director of the New York City Economic Development Corp., said the privately funded $200 million investment will enhance shopping, dining and entertainment and create a new food market and open space to better connect the Seaport to the local community. Importantly, it will also create hundreds of jobs and revitalize the area.
The proposed building at Pier 17 will include an open rooftop with 40% more open space and a glass façade leading to destination stores, restaurants and neighborhood shops. The plan includes a locally and regionally sourced food market open by October 2014. Construction of the overall project will be complete in 2015.