Drawing Center shows its Seaport design


By Ronda Kaysen and Jefferson Siegel

The Drawing Center unveiled schematic drawings of a new museum it hopes to build in the South Street Seaport at a Community Board 1 meeting Wednesday night. The 29-year-old museum has plans to build a two-story, 25,000 sq. ft. museum on a site currently occupied by the New Market Building in the Seaport.

Designs of the two-story structure include a rippled, maritime rooftop and slatted windows. The ground floor is set back, creating a large open space outside. The first floor of the building would likely include extensive public space, such as a café, bookstore, educational programs and a public reception area.

“I think it was great,” Harold Reed, chairperson of C.B. 1’s Arts and Entertainment Committee, told Downtown Express. “The community-at-large would welcome the Drawing Center… It would be a great addition to the area.”

The future of the entire area is still in question. The Fulton Fish Market left the neighborhood earlier this year and General Growth, the company that owns the development rights for many of the properties, has yet to unveil its plans for the area. “We do not have developed plans for this site,” Drawing Center executive director George Negroponte told board members. “Getting all the players coordinated and choreographed is the main hurtle at this point.”

The New Market building, located on the edge of Pier 17, is a city-owned property and would be demolished to make way for the new Drawing Center.

The project will cost as much as $45 million and be partially funded by a $10 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The 29-year-old, Soho-based museum originally intended to move into the Snohetta building, a cultural center planned to be built next to the World Trade Center memorial. But last summer, after some victims’ family members criticized the museum’s content, the museum withdrew from the redevelopment. It has been looking for a site for a new museum ever since.

WWW Downtown Express