Council OKs Seaport plan with food markets

Councilmember Margaret Chin shakes hands with Julie Greenberg, a lobbyist for South Street Seaport Limited Partnership, which is part of  Howard Hughes Corp. Looking on is Christopher Curry, senior executive vice president of the Hughes firm.  Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Councilmember Margaret Chin talks with Julie Greenberg, a lobbyist for South Street Seaport Limited Partnership, which is part of Howard Hughes Corp. Looking on is Christopher Curry, senior executive vice president of the Hughes firm. Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

On the morning of March 20, City Council’s Sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises and its Land Use Committee approved The Howard Hughes Corporation’s ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application for the redevelopment of Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport. However, the $200 million plan was approved with a few modifications.

The revised plan was slated to go to the entire Council for a vote in the afternoon, where it was certain to be approved.

Construction on Pier 17 will now begin on Oct. 1, 2013 instead of July 1, giving existing tenants in good standing the right to remain through the busy summer season and attempt to recoup losses suffered from Superstorm Sandy. Under the new agreement, they must vacate the pier by Sept. 9. These tenants will be able to apply for space in the new mall on Pier 17, though Howard Hughes will not be obligated to accept them as tenants.

Howard Hughes has agreed to engage an acoustical engineer to study ways to mitigate sound from concerts on Pier 17 and on the roof of the new mall so as not to disturb residents both in lower Manhattan and in the waterfront neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

The pier will be redesigned to accommodate maritime uses. This plan must be submitted to City Council no later than June 30, 2013.

The final modification was that the public will be guaranteed free access to the pier at all times. Portions of the rooftop will be made available for no rental charge to community-based organizations up to four times a year.

City Councilmember Margaret Chin in whose district the South Street Seaport lies, did much of the negotiating to obtain these concessions from The Howard Hughes Corporation, which has a 60-year lease on Pier 17 and on parts of the South Street Seaport.

Following the voting, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Chin announced a deal with the Howard Hughes Corporation and its subsidiary, South Street Seaport Limited Partnership, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for two new food markets in the South Street Seaport area.

Before Oct. 1, 2014, Howard Hughes and South Street Seaport Limited Partnership have agreed to open a food market that includes locally and regionally sourced food to be open to the public seven days a week. It will be within the area of their South Street Seaport lease.

In addition, there will be a new food market at the Tin Building. The agreement mandates that any proposal for a mixed use project at the Tin Building must include a food market occupying at least 10,000 square feet of floor space showcasing locally and regionally sourced foods that are sold by multiple vendors. Like the other market, it must be open to the public seven days a week.

Tenants for that market will be selected by the Howard Hughes Corporation and the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

“Markets of this kind have a historic presence in Lower Manhattan, and I am proud that we were able to reincorporate this use into the wider redevelopment of the Seaport,” Chin said in a statement. “The start date of construction on the Pier 17 project will be postponed to allow current tenants to remain open throughout this summer. This is the right thing to do. It will allow small businesses to make back the revenue they lost as a result of hurricane Sandy….”

At the press conference, Quinn and Chin were surrounded by representatives of various community organizations including Community Board 1 and the Downtown Alliance.

“For a long time, Community Board 1 has fought for the inclusion of a public market in the historic Tin Building,” Catherine McVay-Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, said in a statement. “This is a game changer at this critical time for the businesses and residents located at the historic Seaport area…. It will be wonderful to have a local and regionally sourced market open seven days a week, all year long.”

Representatives of the Fulton Stall Market were there, but Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market on South Street was notably absent. In a telephone conversation later that day, he said it was his birthday and he had other plans for the day. He also said that he was glad that the Tin Building would be used as a market for local and regional foods. However, he noted that the Tin Building has 20,000 feet of space and that only 10,000 are being allocated to a market.

That would make that market significantly smaller than the New Amsterdam Market, which has been using around 15,000 square feet of space under the FDR Drive between Beekman Street and Peck Slip on Sundays from April to December. LaValva said that a 10,000-square-foot market would be an amenity for local residents but would not be sufficient to act as a tourist attraction or a destination.

“We’re now talking about a 10,000 square foot market in a development site that is not known in any way,” he said, referring to the fact that Howard Hughes has an option on the site but has not publicly revealed its plans for it. He believes that it will have a shopping mall on one side of it and possibly a hotel and apartment complex on the other.

He also said that he has not yet decided if he will open the New Amsterdam Market this year. He said that today’s announcement changes the picture and that he does not know at the present time what he will do or when he will decide.

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22 Responses to Council OKs Seaport plan with food markets

  1. Great "Lobbyist". Since when did the South Street Seaport Landlord need a Lobbyist? How much did Chinn and Quinn get?

    You guys need to see the article in the Post the other day about all the landlords paying into the coffers of each candidate for Mayor. They pay off each one equally so whomever gets elected the landlord bribe scheme works.

    • Look at photo of the lobbyist and Chin all cozy with each other, hand in hand, one thanking the other. I guess the buck was passed earlier.

      Chin won “concessions”?

      “Concessions” like acoustic baffling that any good concert venue has. or “concessions” like a lousy 3-month extension on their leases before they are evicted? What a joke!

      “Concessions” like the pier will have “maritime” uses. Maritime uses on a pier. What a original idea.

      As far as the food market, you neglected to mention that the developer of the market contributed to her campaign war chest.

      Chin never met a lobbyist she didn’t like.

  2. The headline should read NYC Community Market Killed By California Real Estate Giant

  3. Diane W. Fabrizio

    I am very sad to read the news about the "deal" made for our beloved South Street Seaport. Has anyone
    ever been to Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Ct? I was born in Mystic and stood by the Mystic River and watched
    the first whaling ship sail down the Mystic River. The seaport was born, and remains as was in 1944.
    We living here near our seaport could have the same success and beauty and no piers would be used for
    entertainment, but to view the beauty of the river, and stroll the pebbled way and learn history, not how
    to spend money. Margart Chin and Christine Quinn and Howard Huges…shame on you.

    • Diane W. Fabrizio, unfortunately, this is the year 2013 and Mystic Seaport is in Ct. Which is really a beautiful place and when I was there, I really loved it. BUT, this is New York City considered the richest city in the world and is really not condusive to being turned into a "country park or old fashioned pier!" Did you forget, THE STOCK MARKET SITS WITHIN BLOCKS OF THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT!!! The great thing about New York City, is that if people want to go stolling, go to Central Park or one of the many other great parks in the city, OR….. Move to the suburbs:)

      • Well, if you knew anything about the history of New York, you’d know that the financial center grew there because of the presence of the Seaport. You’d know that the few historic buildings and docks there are all that’s left of the engine that built this city. And you’d know that it’s worth preserving. If it’s too low key for you, I suggest you move to Times Square, or maybe Las Vegas.

      • OR….. Move to the suburbs-This is the mantra of a Rube. As a lifer here, you can go back to the Surburbs, or the Midwest or whatever rat mall town you came from.

    • You are sad to read the news??? Why? Because you believe that you would be going to learn history and buy an apple in a location that these merchants will be paying upwards of 275 dollars per square foot… Come on wake up! All of the people like you dream and make foolish comments such as that because you live in a dreamworld. New York City is not some small time sleepy hollow. It's the largest city in the world and it does not have need for things you want…… It does not need that in the city…. that is the reason tourists and various people come from other parts of the world and the state to visit. They can do what you speak of in Sleepy Hollow back home… Do some research!

  4. Reminds me of a line from Forrest Gump " Stupid is as stupid does".
    Ms Chins give a new meaning to this expression. She must truly believe in trickle down economy.

  5. There's Chin again, doing what she does best: selling out her constituents in favor of the fat cats. Shame on us all if she gets re-elected.

  6. I heard that The Howard Hughes Company is looking for a new place to store "The Spruce Goose" but they need more than 10,000 sf.

    The "ChinQuinn" fix is in, all they need is more cash from "The Lobbyist".

  7. It would be nice to have a giant market (semi outdoor and mostly indoor similar to the Pike Place Market in Seattle) in NYC!

    • It would be nice to have a giant market, but that is not what has been proposed. The Pike Place Market occupies approximately seven acres with 200 year-round commercial businesses, 190 craftspeople and approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day. What has been announced for the South Street Seaport are two relatively small markets — one of "at least 10,000 square feet" in a 20,000-square-foot building and another of similar size, possibly in the Link building on Pier 17. The famous Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia is 78,000 square feet. What we will be getting in the South Street Seaport will be tiny in comparison.

  8. $10 for a tomato at rent of $300psf. Are you people for real.

    The city food inspectors were giving out thousands of dollar's in fines in the Pier food court for having things like a fly in the area (brilliant since the doors were open to the outside). I can't wait until they wade into the rat infested Tin buildings to do the same. Or will they overlook it if ChinQuin get enough $?

    I have picture of rats as big as cats feasing at the back of the Pier for years while I was a tenant.

    What a farce. Bring on the cheese.

  9. pro-dev downtowner

    What are people so upset about?? Will they miss the make your own license plate kiosk at pier 17 that much? Have you walked through pier 17 lately? I consider it to be one of the worst malls i've ever seen and can't wait for it to be torn down. All of the belly-achers are anti-development. keep in mind, these developers help fund your subsidized apartments

    • these developers help fund your subsidized apartments -BS, BS, BS. I do agree that Pier 17 blows but so do you. I guess you're voting for Bloomberg 2.0.

  10. He said that today’s announcement changes the picture and that he does not know at the present time what he will do or when he will decide. – reading his last words makes me wonder what is in store for his plans after everything being done.

  11. I think this is great news and gives people jobs and more food options.

  12. This sounds to me like a great plan. It creates jobs and people get more food choices at the same time!

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