In an effort to stop the development of the South Street Seaport, one neighborhood group criticized the high-rise project Tuesday, proposing an alternative look for the historic space.

The Seaport, which suffered widespread damage during Superstorm Sandy two years ago, is being redeveloped with a new shopping center and high rise building on the former Pier 17 mall site.

The group Save Our Seaport aims to repurpose the area into a middle school or community center with a public food market on the ground floor.

"The more that they start to show us the less it looks like the Seaport," said David Sheldon, a founding member of Save Our Seaport. "It's not a gated attraction, it's a living neighborhood. It's an active preservation."

The Save Our Seaport plan would nix the high-rise under the current proposal, spearheaded by the Howard Hughes Corporation. Under the corporation's plan, the site would also feature restaurants, a movie theater, and an open space expansion project expected to be complete by next year.

A spokeswoman for the Howard Hughes Corp., Nicole Kolinsky, pointed out that their plan includes a fresh food market in the Tin Building, as well as a public middle school and community space.