Development

City Planning Commission Approves Pier 17 Retail Development Plans at South Street Seaport

The New York City Department of City Planning has approved The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans to raze South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and replace it with a two-level glass structure.

The commission agreed to allow the Dallas-based developer to overhaul the existing development with 120,000 square feet of retail and additional open space, including a 10,000-square-foot rooftop terrace, though the City Council must approve the plan before it moves forward.

“The Howard Hughes Corporation is pleased with the City Planning Commission’s approval of our vision for Pier 17, transforming the building’s iconic waterfront setting into an energetic, highly engaging destination for shopping, dining and entertainment in Lower Manhattan,” the firm said in a prepared statement, though a company spokesperson did not return calls seeking comment in time for publication.

seaport interiorbanner5 City Planning Commission Approves Pier 17 Retail Development Plans at South Street Seaport As part of the agreement, the firm must provide maritime docking stations and scrap plans for a rooftop sign it hoped to plant on the rooftop of the proposed glass structure.

“The elimination of the rooftop sign will prevent the experience of the Lower Manhattan waterfront environment and the views of the Brooklyn Bridge from being compromised,” said Amanda Burden, commission chairperson, according to a transcript of the approval meeting.

In addition, Commission Member Michelle de la Uz asked the Economic Development Corporation, owner of the pier, to negotiate with the developer to extend current tenants’ leases until the fall, though Howard Hughes has asked them to vacate Pier 17 by April 30, the Downtown Express reported.

The South Street Seaport consists of three historic buildings and one pavilion shopping building on the East River in Lower Manhattan.  The Howard Hughes Corporation has argued that the development project would create a much-needed community anchor for the neighborhood’s rapidly-growing resident and tourist population.

The transformation of Pier 17 is expected to begin during the summer of 2013, with a grand opening planned for 2015.

The plan goes before the City Council next, which has 50 days to approve, deny or keep the plan as is.

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