The ongoing redevelopment of Southstreet Seaport seems to be playing out as an urban design tug of war between the developer and local preservationists. The latest issue involves the reconstruction of the landmarked Tin Building, which developer Howard Hughes Corporation is planning to rebuild as a seafood-inspired food market. However, according to DNAinfo, the company’s recent request to modify previously approved permits has area residents accusing the developer of trying to skirt a full review process by City Hall.
The problem stems from the developer’s request to scrap the mix-used permit for the Tin Building and bundle it under neighboring Pier 17’s building permits. The Tin Building is located at the base of Pier 17, which is currently being reformed into an upscale shopping center by SHoP Architects. The construction permits for Pier 17’s Uniform Land Use Process (ULURP) was approved several years ago by City Hall.
Although the initial plan for the Tin Building renovation fell under a separate permit for a mixed-use project, the developer now wants the Tin Building to be grouped into that same ULURP, tacked on as a “minor” modification to the plan. If the City Planning Commission approves the change to the Pier 17 permit, it would mean that construction on the Tin Building would not require further approvals by the city.
But local preservationists like Friends of South Street Seaport are crying foul over the new request. They are accusing the corporation of trying to piecemeal the larger Southstreet Seaport project together by breaking it up into smaller projects, and skirting a detailed review of the overall project by City Hall in the process. What do you think? Should Howard Hughes be able to package the Tin Building together with Pier 17’s existing ULURP?
Images via SHoP Architects