City says Seaport tower is NOT on hold

Image courtesy of the Howard Hughes Corp. Rendering of Howard Hughes Corp.’s plan for the Seaport. Image courtesy of Howard Hughes Corp.
Rendering of Howard Hughes Corp.’s plan for the Seaport. Image courtesy of Howard Hughes Corp.

BY JOSH ROGERS | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JAN. 30, 2014  |  The city’s Economic Development Corp. on Thursday contradicted the assertions of Downtown leaders that the proposed Seaport tower is on hold, and is insisting the project is moving forward on schedule.

One E.D.C. official pushed back strongly against the claims — reported by Downtown Express and other media outlets Jan. 29. “In short, there is no new ‘halt’ or agreement to halt,” according to the official.

E.D.C. manages the South Street Seaport for New York City and is overseeing the Howard Hughes Corp.’s proposal to redevelop the Tin and New Market building with a 600-foot mixed use tower, food market and a marina.

Kate Blumm, E.D.C.’s spokesperson, said in a prepared statement: “This proposal is at the very beginning of what will ultimately be an extensive public review process, and we have strongly encouraged Howard Hughes Corporation to work with local stakeholders to solicit their input and understand their concerns. We’re encouraged by the steps the developer is taking in concert with elected officials to more formally structure community involvement, and we look forward to seeing the dialogue evolve. To date, the process is moving as anticipated along the timeline previously agreed upon.”

At Tuesday’s night Community Board 1 meeting, Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes said a “community-driven” task force will be created and the plan “will not go forward as presented….Any future milestones are on hold until a comprehensive community process has taken place.”

On Wednesday, she told Downtown Express that her report was carefully worded after a conference call that included Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin.

Silver in his written monthly report to C.B. 1 said of the tower that “the city has now agreed to put those plans on hold.”

A source close to Chin had said on Wednesday that the creation of a task force with the Howard Hughes Corp. would likely have the effect of halting the project.

The E.D.C. official acknowledged the task force may have the effect of a delay but said that was always going to be part of the project and added it was not true that there have been any changes to the milestones or any hold on the proposal.

E.D.C. did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.