Manhattan’s South Street Seaport Redev Breaks Ground

Redevelopment of Pier 17 at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport into an upscale retail, entertainment and dining venue topped by a one and a half-acre rooftop offering city and harbor views began Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Rooftop night view

Rooftop night view

Redevelopment of Pier 17 at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport into an upscale retail, entertainment and dining venue topped by a one and a half-acre rooftop offering city and harbor views began today with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The developer, The Howard Hughes Corp. of Dallas, will demolish the old mall and replace it with a multi-tiered glass structure consisting of about 365,000 square feet of retail space, including stores and restaurants. When it opens in 2016, the transformed Pier 17 will feature 40 percent more open space including the rooftop with a restaurant, two outdoor bars and an amphitheater for up to 4,000 people for concerts and special events.

The project is estimated to cost at least $200 million. The developer said the redevelopment is expected to generate more than $260 million in total economic output during the construction and produce more than 1,000 jobs. Once completed, it is estimated to generate about $193 million in economic activity each year, including more than $10 million in tax revenues to New York City. About 1,150 permanent jobs are expected to be created by the new development.

“The new Pier 17 will inject the Seaport with new life and fresh energy,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news release. “It will bring new retail, entertainment and open space to one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations – right in the heart of one of the city’s fastest-growing residential neighborhoods. The investment by The Howard Hughes Corporation will bring even more visitors to the Seaport and more revenue to the city- and it’ll make one of New York’s most scenic sites even more attractive.”

The waterfront destination was hit hard by last October’s Superstorm Sandy with many of the Pier 17 stores and restaurants remaining closed after the hurricane. The Howard Hughes Corp. delayed demolition of the old two-story, 195,000-square-foot mall until after the summer so those retailers still at the site could try and recoup some of their losses from the storm.

One of the top tourist attractions in the world, the South Street Seaport dates back to the 1600s. The developer and its design firm, SHoP Architects, evoke its maritime history while making it a destination for tourists and locals. The developer expects tourist visits to climb from 9 million today to 15 million once the redevelopment is finished.

“SHoP’s design for the Seaport’s Pier 17 combines the density need to support active street life on the waterfront with  intimately-scaled retail corridors,” Gregg Pascarelli, principal of SHoP Architects, said in the news release. “The building’s network of interior streets connects to its historic context as well as a series of public spaces designed with James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architect who envisioned New York’s High Line. The new building will be a beautiful space for New Yorkers to connect to their iconic waterfront.”

In the planning stages for several years, the New York City Council unanimously approved the redevelopment plan in March.