Seaport firm gets the lead out on Tin Building move

From netting to fish scales, General Growth Properties looked to the Seaport’s past for inspiration when designing a new Pier 17.

Images unveiled to Community Board 1 Wednesday night draw the comparison between historical aspects of the pier and G.G.P.’s vision of an overhaul.

C.B. 1’s Landmarks Committee heard the presentation but did not weigh in because they felt they needed more time and information. G.G.P. is applying to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to make three changes to the South Street Seaport Historic District: moving the historic Tin Building to the tip of Pier 17, demolishing the Pier 17 mall and building a low-rise retail and a boutique hotel on the pier.

G.G.P. will go before the city Landmarks Commission in October, possibly Oct. 21, but C.B. 1 still has plenty of time to weigh in because the city will likely need several hearings to decide on the application, said Elise Wagner, a partner at Kramer Levin who is working for General Growth.

“This is a very unusual application because of its scope,” Wagner said.

The most dramatic feature of G.G.P.’s plan, the 495-foot condo and hotel tower, will not come before the Landmarks Committee because General Growth wants to build it outside of the historic district, just north of the pier. But the Tin Building currently occupies the site for the tower, so if the city does not approve the Tin Building’s move, erecting the tower will be all but impossible.

Wednesday’s meeting marked the third time G.G.P. has come before the community board with its plans, having presented to the Seaport Committee twice already. But the Landmarks Committee wants a joint meeting with the Seaport Committee and the Planning Committee to decide on the landmarking issues.

General Growth executives agreed to return for a fourth presentation when C.B. 1 schedules it, but they balked at delaying the expected Oct. 21 presentation to the city if the committees can’t find a date before then. Typically developers make only one presentation to C.B. 1’s Landmarks Committee before presenting to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

After landmark approval, the developer must go through a lengthy set of enviromental, land use and design reviews at the city, state and federal level.

–Julie Shapiro

–Julie Shapiro