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November 21, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
In February of this year, BatteryPark.TV observed during a CB1 meeting how the Howard Hughes Corporation was being met with strong opposition over its plans to modernize the decrepit flood-prone Seaport region. The lightning rod was the tall residential tower proposed.
BP.TV then met Chris Curry of Howard Hughes for lunch and explained the school shortage problem exacerbated by irresponsible residential building that left out schools. I explained that if they offered to build a school, then that would go along way toward appeasing the critics.
I also called the Chairman of the company, hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, and explained the situation. Based on our conversation, the idea of adding a school as a carrot seemed to be one that only I was pushing. Mr. Ackman said that he would relay the message.
Well, after continued pressure from the community, as I predicted (Mr. Curry seemed to think that he had the city bureaucracy under control and I warned him otherwise), Howard Hughes corp. has finally seen the wisdom of my advice. They are now proposing to build a middle school within the tower. According to DNAinfo, “The tower would include a middle school on three floors and retail at the base, plus about 150 condo units. There will also be about 70 units of affordable housing, but those would be built outside of the tower, in historic buildings on nearby Schermerhorn Row, which Howard Hughes would overhaul….The latest iteration of the skyscraper cuts the height to 494 feet, down from 52 to 42 stories. It would be built on the site of the shuttered New Market building, an abandoned Fulton Fish Market warehouse that sits next to the under-construction Pier 17…..
Also included in the plan are a new, expansive marina, to the east of pier 17, and a proposal to move the cash-strapped South Street Seaport Museum to two new locations, one on Pier 16 and the other on Schermerhorn Row….The developer is also proposing moving the landmarked Tin Building 30 feet, out from under the FDR Drive closer to Pier 17, and lifting it 6 feet — to come in line with current FEMA flood level parameters. The building would be turned into a food market.”.