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To The Editor:
The following is an open letter to Councilmember Margaret Chin:
I write this letter to express my grave concern regarding the development of the New Fish Market Building in the South Street Seaport.
For three years the Howard Hughes Corp. has been publicly stating that it had no plans whatsoever for developing that area. I recall that when H.H.C. representative came to a meeting of Southbridge Towers’ board of directors with sincere smiles on their faces, they categorically stated that there were no plans as yet for any further development in the area. Yet but a few months later they had a fully-developed plan to place a high rise on the footprint of the Fish Market building, completely out of keeping with the historical nature of the area.
The H.H.C. lawyers were evidently fishing for a loophole to appropriate this platform, which sits squarely in the historic district, and exploit it in a way that destroys the continuity of the iconic bridge and the landmark historic buildings.
Hoping to gain yet another gift from the taxpayers of N.Y.C., Howard Hughes Corporation hopes to enhance their brand against the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge. This opportunity alone should carry a price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars. But more to the point, it should never happen.
In a letter to their shareholders, the firm wrote that they expect to generate a stabilized 10 percent yield from all of their other investments, but they excluded the South Street Seaport because “We expect to generate a significantly higher yield on cost than 10 percent.”
On whose backs will this significantly higher yield fall but on the residents of this community? The proposal that the Seaport now host a multi-story high-rise is unjustified, and counter to the historic charm that was to be the cornerstone of the development of this area. I call upon you as our councilperson to oppose such a insult to the area.