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Thread: South Street Seaport Neighborhood Development

  1. #16


    Peck Slip

    Front St from Fulton St

  2. #17
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    This area is really spiffing up.

    Some renderings for Peck Slip included in the East River Waterfront Development plan:

    Description: Peck Slip: A plaza with a pool will be built where water from the East River once flowed into this slip. In the winter, the pool could be transformed into a skating rink. A small planted seating area will replace the existing parking lot.

  3. #18


    Foster's proposal sucks. I hate reflecting pools. How about a fountain? How about simple tree-lined streets?

  4. #19


    Now how exactly are these boomerang frames with vines an improvement? Would you call them sympathetic to their surroundings?

    Could you call them clutter?

    Could londonlawyer call them crap?

    Is everything new an improvement? Even well-intentioned stuff like this? Or is there such a thing as too much kindness?

  5. #20


    The Peck Slip plaza is horrible. Maybe a cue should be taken from the renovated Front St, where the treeless street better connects to a time when the area was a bustling shipping center - the point of a historic district, right?
    Living with the fishes, and a feeling of history

    Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert

    The one-block-long Historic Front Street high-end rental redevelopment project lines both sides of Front St. between Beekman St. and Peck Slip.

    By Ronda Kaysen

    The first residents of a new South Street Seaport development unpacked their boxes this July, marking the beginning of a new era for one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

    Historic Front Street, a 17-building development on a cobblestone swath of Front St. between Beekman St. and Peck Slip, began leasing the first 57 rent-stabilized apartments this summer (45 have been rented so far) and will begin leasing the remaining units in this 96-unit complex this autumn.

    The one-block-long strip that dates back to the late 18th century lay mostly vacant for close to 30 years, with several structures on the block reduced to empty lots. The buildings that remained had long since fallen into disrepair, their facades shrouded in black netting and their interiors dilapidated, although some of the lower floors were occupied by fish merchants until just before the structures were purchased.

    In June 2003, Yarrow LLC, a partnership of Sciame Development, Zuberry Development Corporation and the Durst Organization, purchased the city-owned property, bringing years of failed attempts to revive the district to a close.

    With an infusion of $46.3 million in Liberty Bonds — bonds created in the wake of 9/11 to revive Downtown —Yarrow enlisted architect Richard Cook of Cook + Fox for the $50 million project to restore the 11 surviving structures, integrating modern architecture with the historic remnants and building three new buildings to fill the empty lots. Working within the constraints of a 120-foot height limit imposed by the city, the new low-rise development harks back to a time when the area was dominated by the fishing industry.

    “It’s important that a city has a connection with it’s past,” said Craig Dykers, a partner at Snohetta, the Norwegian architectural firm entrusted with building a cultural center at the new World Trade Center.

    Dykers was among the first tenants to move into the Front St. development, snatching up a one-bedroom apartment in one of the older buildings. “It was interesting to me that there was a part of town that was being rescued from the wrecking ball,” he said, adding that his other home, in Oslo, Norway, is also in the city’s fish market area.

    With 38 different floor plans, many of the units in the older, landmark buildings have exposed brick, wood beamed ceilings — the wood, harvested from the Adirondacks and Catskills, dates back 500 years — and original cast-iron support beams. (“I sometimes feel there are some ghosts in here,” said Dykers of his apartment.)

    The new buildings evoke a maritime theme with porthole windows and seafaring design. Each building is named in a nod to the area’s past — Barwick’s Barway, Mott Dry Goods, Shotwell Arches — with Moby Dick inscriptions incorporated into the facade. The original cobblestone street has been re-laid and the streetlamps are being replaced with bishop’s crook-style light fixtures.

    The ground floor includes 13 retail spaces, ranging in size from 550 square feet to 2,200 square feet, which might entice retailers interested in appealing to a residential clientele. The South Street Seaport area has long been criticized for an abundance of shops geared exclusively to tourists with the cobblestone promenade peppered with national chains. “I prefer the local shops of which there’s quite a few in Lower Manhattan,” said Dykers. “In this particular case it would be nice if there were more of those kinds of shops.”

    Restoring the past, however, comes with a hefty price tag. The units are rather small — they range in size from 600 square feet to 1,400 square feet, and one-bedrooms start at $2,600 a month. Two-bedrooms range from $4,100 to $5,500 a month, and two-bedroom penthouses cost as much as $8,500 a month. (A Western European nation’s delegation to the United Nations recently claimed two of the penthouses.) Of the 95 units, only five have been set aside for moderate-income tenants.

    Liberty Bonds for residential use are relegated to rental apartments, so it was never an option for the buildings to be co-ops or condos.

    For the tenants who fell in love with the historic character of the buildings, the cost was a worthwhile trade off. “This was the nicest place I looked at, but absolutely the most expensive,” said Lori Vincent, a new Front St. resident. Vincent, who works for Imago Relationships International, a nonprofit organization on Maiden Lane, is spending $2,800 a month for her one-bedroom apartment, $800 more a month than she intended to spend. Her unit, on the lower end of the price scale, does not enjoy the East River and Brooklyn Bridge views that higher-end apartments enjoy, and as one of the newer units, it lacks the exposed brick and wood beams. “I’m hoping that by next year I’ll be able to move into those nice apartments across the hall,” she mused.

    Terry Harlow wandered into Historic Front Street’s rental office the day it opened and immediately “fell in love” with one of the studio apartments. A resident of nearby Southbridge Towers for the past 12 years, Harlow and her husband, Robert Schoen, were accustomed to paying $700 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with a terrace in the subsidized Mitchell-Lama complex. Switching to market-rate rent was a shock for the self-employed learning consultant.

    “I’m an interesting example of what it’s like to look for market rate,” Harlow told Downtown Express, sitting on her new home’s shared rooftop deck on a recent breezy August afternoon. Despite the jump in price, Harlow signed a two-year lease and is thrilled to have found a new apartment a stone’s throw away from her old one. Southbridge, where her husband still lives, is visible from her new rooftop. The Brooklyn Bridge and the East River are visible, too. “I just love Downtown,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine living in any other neighborhood.”

    Her new neighbors are not what Harlow expected — to her delight. “It’s not like when you go to John St. and everybody’s apartment is paid for by mommy and daddy,” she said, referring to young college graduates in the financial industry who often rent high-end apartments near Wall St.

    “We thought we’d get a lot of shares,” said Brian Edwards, Yarrow’s director of leasing, referring to college graduates who often double-up in small apartments. To his surprise, 90 percent of the units have been rented to couples. The remaining 10 percent have been rented to singles. “We have been blown away by that,” he said.

    Soon, the neighborhood will take another dramatic turn: the Fulton Fish Market, which has been selling fish to the city’s purveyors for 170 years, will relocate to a new facility in the South Bronx. Although the end of the fish market might revive a neighborhood dominated by tourism, many of the new residents are already pining for what will soon become history. “The fish market is the heart and soul of this neighborhood. It’s living history,” said Harlow.

    On second thought, she added, “It’ll be nice not to ride my bike in fish guts.”

    The end of the fish market also brings new growth. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation set aside $150 million this spring to redesign the East River waterfront, including an overhaul of the neglected area beneath the F.D.R. Drive and the addition of a reflecting pool in the middle of Peck Slip, the street to the east of the Front St. development. And General Growth Properties, the real estate investment trust that owns the Seaport Mall, indicated earlier this summer that it intends to exercise the option in its lease to take over several brick fish market stalls on South St. and the Tin Building, a landmark structure on Pier 17. Although the company has yet to unveil its plans for the properties, its interest in the area beckons the beginning of a new era.

    Vincent is looking forward to the coming months — when the tourists dwindle in the winter months and the fish market will pack up for good. “It’s very enchanting there’s so much history that I haven’t even touched yet,” she said. “When it quiets down, that’s when you’ll start feeling the history.”

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.
    Downtown Express | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

    Phone: 212.242.6162 | Fax: 212.229.2970

  6. #21

    Default Seaport Projects

    I am a broker downtown and I have to say the apartments at the old fish market are truly beautiful. I did a walk through the other day with an on-site and many of them have beams that date back to the 1800's, they have alot of character but are being gut renovated so there is a mix of a little old and alot new.

  7. #22
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    llynch: Any photos?

  8. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by llynch
    I am a broker downtown and I have to say the apartments at the old fish market are truly beautiful. I did a walk through the other day with an on-site and many of them have beams that date back to the 1800's, they have alot of character but are being gut renovated so there is a mix of a little old and alot new.
    Agreed with what llynch said... but I don't have any pictures.

  9. #24


    New York Daily News -

    It's a new life for South St.

    Sunday, January 8th, 2006

    For 183 years, South Street smelled like fish. Now that the Fulton Fish Market has moved to Hunts Point in the Bronx, real estate mavens smell opportunity.

    Historic buildings — some nearly two centuries old — are changing hands for restoration as single-family homes or small multi-unit apartment properties.

    A privately owned fishmonger's building at 108 South St. was sold for a princely sum of about $480 per square foot. The new owner is expected to convert the four-story loft building — which has weeds sprouting out of its brick facade — to residential use.

    "This is a neighborhood to watch," said Peter DeCheser of Massey Knakal Realty Services, the sale broker along with his cousin Michael DeCheser.

    The Seaport area is a hotbed of real estate activity despite uncertainty about the fate of city-owned buildings along South Street that housed many of the fish businesses.

    The firm that operates the South Street Seaport shopping mall, General Growth Properties, intends to exercise an option to lease the buildings. It hasn't told the city yet what its redevelopment plans are — for the fish market buildings or the Seaport itself.

    "With the fish market gone, there's a whole new sense of ‘What can happen here?'" said John Evans, vice president of real estate at Sciame Development.

    His firm has just done a big redevelopment called Historic Front Street, which has attracted the attention of real estate investors.

    The development, funded with $46.3 million in Liberty Bonds, involves properties on both sides of Front St., from Peck Slip to Beekman St.

    Sciame and partner Zuberry Associates have restored 11 long-decaying landmark buildings and constructed three new buildings on empty lots, creating 95 rental apartments and 15 storefronts. The properties, constructed between 1798 and 1825, had been city-owned since 1970.

    Tenants started moving in last July — and have filled 80 apartments. Leasing consultant Brian Edwards hopes to rent the last 15 flats by the middle of next month.

    The apartments have people-pleasing features like brick walls, exposed wood beams and washers and dryers in every unit — and command hefty rents. One-bedrooms are $2,600 to $4,000 per month, two-bedrooms are $4,100 to $5,300, and penthouses run as high as $8,000, Edwards said.

    Other neighborhood properties that are in play are drawing lots of interest from prospective buyers, including Seaport Mews, a 27-unit rental-apartment building at 264 Water St. Whoever buys it will probably convert the apartments to condos, said the building's marketer, Peter DeCheser.

    Development in the neighborhood must be low-rise and small-scale — it's a landmark district with tight zoning restrictions. The one exception is another Sciame project planned just outside the boundaries of the historic district, at 80 South St. — a dramatic 835-foot tower designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava, with 10 condos priced $29 million to $59 million apiece.

    Because the apartments are so expensive, Sciame is pre-selling some of them before getting financing. Evans hopes to start demolition at the site this spring.

    In the meantime, plenty of smaller stuff is percolating in the neighborhood — which is already starting to change the area's offerings for new residents.

    This week, contractor and artist Randy Polumbo will open a new restaurant called Dodo at 45 Peck Slip. His sister Rachel Zacks will bake the cookies, and a jazz trio will perform on Saturdays.

    Polumbo lives in the upper floors of the 1810-vintage building, which he bought and meticulously renovated as a single-family home.

    He first settled into the neighborhood a decade ago, when he restored old buildings at 268 Water St. to house his construction firm, 3-D Laboratory.

    And an interior-design expert is branching into the wine business in a former fishmonger's space.

    Marco Pasanella — author of "Living in Style Without Losing Your Mind" — is setting up a wine shop called Pasanella and Son at 115 South St., a building he bought.

    Pasanella lives in one apartment upstairs, and rents out two others. He decided to open a shop of his own instead of finding someone else to occupy the storefront.

    "You can hope you get the right tenant," he explained. "Or you start something yourself that sets the tone for the neighborhood."

  10. #25
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    God I hope they don't turn South Street Seaport into another boring residential neighborhood. NY can't afford to keep losing these type of "destination" areas of interest.

  11. #26


    I'm gaining more respect for Sciame as a developer. He has done a fine job on Front St. I'd like to see it continued at the large parking lot to the west.

    The Seaport has been a destination for decades - and a failure, because New Yorkers avoid it. Maybe the neigborhood changes - the Drawing Center at the fish market will turn the area around.

  12. #27


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    I'm gaining more respect for Sciame as a developer. He has done a fine job on Front St. I'd like to see it continued at the large parking lot to the west.

    The Seaport has been a destination for decades - and a failure, because New Yorkers avoid it. Maybe the neigborhood changes - the Drawing Center at the fish market will turn the area around.
    Are you referring to the huge parking lot on Water Street or to the smaller one near Sciame's h.q.? I would like to see the small one made into a park. I've always been curious about the huge ones which the Milsteins own and don't develop. I know there's been community opposition about large towers, but instead of keeping it empty, the could build a lot of really nice four story town houses situated around green squares. These buildings could evoke the 18th century character of the area and such a project would make a fortune.

  13. #28


    The big Milstein lot.

    It's within the historic district boundary, so there is no chance of towers on the site. I don't know why the Milsteins don't just unload it.

    I wouldn't mind seeing what you described.

  14. #29


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    The big Milstein lot.

    It's within the historic district boundary, so there is no chance of towers on the site. I don't know why the Milsteins don't just unload it.

    I wouldn't mind seeing what you described.
    I know that large towers won't be built there, though I don't understand why since large towers exist across the street from it. Nonetheless, townhouses would be really nice. It's amazing that Milstein sits on this lot and the one in Times Square as if he were a hen waiting for eggs to hatch.

  15. #30


    Gotham Gazette -

    Making The Old Fulton Fish Market Into Something New

    by Pat Arnow
    27 Feb 2006

    Until last fall, whenever I bicycled through the Fulton Fish Market in the early mornings, the street was filled with hundreds of burly workers, beeping forklifts, and crate after crate of seafood, enough seafood to supply the entire city. There was a slimy layer of water and grime over the whole street. I'd go slow to keep fish slime from spraying my pants and to avoid slipping in potholes or skidding on bits of palettes and boxes and other debris that filled the street.

    Then, in November, after 180 years on Fulton Street, the "Fulton fish market" moved to Hunts Point in the Bronx. Now, Fulton Street has become clean and peaceful, though still potholed.
    It is also largely desolate, especially on weekdays. Losing the fish market and 600 jobs that went with it meant losing the only large, thriving enterprise in the neighborhood. I am surely not the only one to miss the fish slime.

    Yes, a certain majesty remains, thanks to the South Street Seaport Museum's half-dozen historic ships docked at Pier 16. But right now, only one area in the neighborhood looks stable -– the cobblestoned pedestrian streets at the foot of Fulton Street, which make up the core of the landmarked district, and house both the galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum (in its recently renovated building on Schermerhorn Row) and such shops as The Gap, J. Crew, and The Body Shop. But even here business is slow: It may well be a sign of desperation that even long-time workers in the area are happy to see the popularity of "The Bodies," a gruesome exhibition of cadavers displaying muscles and internal organs that have been replaced with polymer, because, freak show that it is, it nevertheless draws people into the Fulton Market Building.

    Worse is Pier 17, the South Street Seaport shopping and dining complex, which was built in 1983 to energize the neighborhood, but never lived up to expectations. After the World Trade Center fell less than a mile away, it became comatose. Most of the businesses are surviving on month-to-month leases; there are empty storefronts.

    All this is about to change. The entire neighborhood –- including but not limited to the area where the shabby fish stalls stood -– will soon be transformed. What it will become, though, is just starting to unfold.

    A Center For Art?

    The Drawing Center, an exhibition space currently in Soho, hopes to take over the site of one fish market building.

    The Drawing Center jumped at the possibility of the Fulton Fish Market site after they had to abandon plans to move to the World Trade Center complex.

    They've looked at tearing down the building as part of the redevelopment of the whole area, which will be "very upgraded," says George Negroponte, president of The Drawing Center, in an e-mail. The building is one of the few in the area not protected by landmark status, so they have plenty of choices. "It is far too early for us to envision what we might do on the site," says Negroponte. "For instance, one consideration we've discussed lately is preserving some or all of the existing building. But in all fairness, we are just playing with ideas."

    He is optimistic. "The discussions have been very favorable so far because everyone supports The Drawing Center having the site," says Negroponte.

    However, they have not yet talked with the developers about what's going on next door at Pier 17 or the other fish market buildings.

    A Big Mall?

    What happens there is up to General Growth, a company that runs more than 200 shopping malls around the country. The company holds options on the leases for two other city-owned fish market buildings that are part of the district that has been landmarked since 1977. At present it seems to be interested in high-end retail to fill the stalls on both sides of the street.

    General Growth can tear down the sparsely visited three-story mall on Pier 17, which is not part of the landmarked district, and build something new. What it would be, they are not saying; they promise to unveil ideas in coming months. "We're looking at everything that would be of service to the neighborhood including retail, dining, entertainment, hotels," says Michael Piazzola, the company’s general manager for the project.

    Whether General Growth is capable of a successful transformation is another question. Most of the malls listed in their holdings on their website are simply malls. Properties include the Staten Island Mall and the Paramus Park in New Jersey. When General Growth acquired Rouse in November 2004, they gained more high-end, mixed-use developments and tourist-centered malls including Faneuil Hall in Boston, Riverwalk in New Orleans—and South Street Seaport.

    There is hope for graceful redevelopment. General Growth has commissioned plans from the architecture firm of Beyer Blinder Belle, the company that refurbished Grand Central Terminal so beautifully.

    A New Hip And Ritzy Neighborhood?

    While developers are snapping up the area, the renovation of the neighborhood, akin to what happened in the Meatpacking District, is not a slam dunk. The FDR Drive runs overhead along the river next to South Street. It casts a formidable shadow and creates a visual and psychic divide between the riverfront and the city.

    Still, unlike residents in other areas of the city, it seems unlikely that the community would put up much resistance to expensive development, judging from the views of Victor Papa, who serves on Community Board 1 and is president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council: With the real estate rising so drastically, “only the fancy and sophisticated can come down here."

    A builder, Sciame Development, already has created expensive new and renovated apartments along Front Street. Their best-known and most spectacular project will the building at 80 South Street, a residential tower of cantilevered cubes designed by Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the bird-on-the-wing transportation hub planned for the World Trade Center site. Apartments will start at $29 million.

    Housing? Manufacturing? Memorial? Parks And Ships?

    No one is speaking of other alternatives for the area, either affordable housing or manufacturing. A big-box store such as Home Depot or Target, which had been considered, seems to be off the table. "It'll never happen. It's not sophisticated enough," says Papa of the community board. What may happen – or what he would like to see happen -- is some kind of tribute to the thousands of immigrants and children of immigrants who kept the fish market running in all weather for nearly two centuries.

    There is also hope for a more vibrant area because the city, with $150 million of post-9/11 Lower Manhattan Development Corporation money, plans to make the riverfront more accessible with new buildings, lighting and promenades under the FDR. Pier 15 next to the historic ships will be rebuilt. That could provide a park-like pier, as the city has built on the Hudson River side. Richard Stepler, who directs special exhibitions at the South Street Seaport Museum, hopes for a place to dock two schooners that there is no room for now. Carter Craft of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance dreams of water transportation that would bring people to and from Brooklyn, Governors Island and other parts of the city. Plans include making Peck Slip and Burling Slip into wide graceful esplanades. Projects should be complete in three to five years.

    Turning A Question Mark Into An Exclamation Point

    Carter Craft sees an opportunity. "There's a combination of old and new I find exciting. It's got great bones." Right now, though, he sees a diffuseness there, "sort of shopping, sort of historic, sort of things to see. You need to evoke ‘Seaport exclamation point!’ Now it's kind of ‘Seaport question mark?’”

    Piazzola of General Growth sees three groups that together should make the area thrive:

    * Residents of Lower Manhattan earn an average household income of $103,000.
    * Tourists flock to the Battery, Wall Street, and the World Trade Center site and could be drawn to South Street.
    * And there are 300,000 workers a day who commute to the area.

    There are practical considerations, such as public transportation and parking. The nearest subway stop is Fulton St., several unattractive blocks away. Downtown Alliance runs a shuttle bus from South Street Seaport to Battery Park City . There are some 3,000 parking spaces in the area.

    No clear timeline has yet been set for the commercial transformation of The Fulton Fish Market or South Street Seaport shopping center on Pier 17. For now, the fish stalls are closed. The trucks, forklifts and burly workers no longer fill the streets, and strong odors no longer permeate the air. What's in the air now is change.

    Gotham Gazette -

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