Across The River: South Street Seaport Could Rise To The Heavens

While plans continue to revamp Pier 17’s tourist trap South Street Seaport, it appears that the view across from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade might become all the more dramatic. Plans have been drafted for a skyscraper at 80 South Street that would dramatically redefine the skyline as seen from the Heights.

In the works is a proposal to erect a 300,000-square-foot, 780-foot-tall mixed-use tower comprising a hotel, residential and community space. Owner Cord Meyer Development is currently working on plans for air rights that it has purchased over several years, while Morali Architects has begun parading renderings for perusal. The design would comprise a high-tech garage on the first three levels, equaling the height of FDR drive; with a small museum above highlighting history of the Seaport; and a restaurant and spa alongside a 200-room boutique hotel. The building’s skin would be made of photovoltaic glass.

The plan awaits approvals from the City Planning Commission and the Dept. of Buildings, which could take at least a year.

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  • Fritz

    If it were being built on our side of the river, we’d be signing petitions condemning the building for blocking our view.

  • JC

    Hmmmm… and today the Seaport is burned to oblivion. Interesting.

  • Claude Scales

    The Seaport wasn’t “burned to oblivion”. There was a smoky fire that broke out at a drinks vending machine in the Pier 17 shopping mall. It was quickly put out. The Museum itself and its ships were untouched.

  • Knight

    Claude: whereas I agree that the Seaport was not burned to oblivion, I think your statement that “It was quickly put out” over-minimalizes the situation. It was a 3-alarm fire that took almost 90 minutes and the efforts of 140 firefighters to get under control. I saw the smoke from the roof garden of the St. George Tower. It was not quickly put out. Luckily there were no casualties; still, I pray for the people who work in the affected stores and whose employment is severely impacted by this fire.

  • Anon

    This is like what the Brooklyn Bridge Park folks want to become of our shoreline. Planned towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park will rise to 30 and 20 stories uplands on Pier 6. So don’t worry, it will happen here – our politicians are giddy at the prospect of real estate developer monies to fund their next big campaign and selling out our park lands for condos is the perfect solution. Scales and others should look deeply into their soul for their support of housing inside what was supposed to be a park.

  • Claude Scales

    I’ve looked deeply into my soul and failed to find where I advocated housing inside the park.

  • Anon

    Did you ever speak out against housing inside this park, Claude? You know the answer to this and it is no. Have you ever challenged the assumptions on the budget, made by the people you are constantly touting as being so great for the park, Regina Myers and the BBP Board? The answer to this is also no. Shame on you.

  • nystrele

    This is a new tact! Now the BHB correspondents are being condemned for things they DIDN’T SAY! some of these comments never cease to amaze.

  • maestro

    It would not seem to be wise thing for a journalist to give an opinion pro or con for any of these issues. That is not their job. Their job is to report.

  • John Q

    With all due respect to Claude and the BHB for the service that they provide to the community, merely reposting press releases and taking public officials word without any fact finding, research or analysis should really be called “journalism”.

  • Scrambler

    My god does everything on this blog have to get twisted back around to BBP and how s$@:ty it is? I wish they would build 80 story buildings along the park like six of them so there was something legitimate to complain about. Instead of all the complaints about a pool and a hot dog cart.

  • Claude Scales

    John Q: I regret not having more time to do real journalism; unfortunately, I have to hold a job in order to help pay my and my family’s bills. If you go to the search engine at the top pf the page and put in “housing in park” as your search term, you’ll find lots of posts on that topic. Most of them are simply announcements of forthcoming meetings on that subject; I felt it was my first priority to make sure people in the neighborhood knew when and where these were happening, so they could attend and express their views. Whenever possible, I attended these meetings, and tried to give as good an account as I could of what was said on all sides of the issue. While I did sometimes quote from press releases and other sources, I also gave my own account of what happened. I did a quick pass through, and found the following three posts that, I think, illustrate this point:

  • epc

    Perhaps if “real journalists” had done a better job of covering local news there would not be a need, nor value, in local blogs. However the professionals have had better things to do than cover the trifling things that occur on a neighborhood level.

  • John Q

    Claude — You do provide a great service and the public owes you a debt of gratitude. And you are too modest about your work and the contribution you make towards providing for a public dialog on the topics that government has refused to discuss and “real” journalists have chosen to ignore.
    Thank you!

  • Bloomy

    I like what you do Claude, keep it up.

  • bklyn20

    But I thought it was impossible to build on piers – or is that just on the east side of the East River?

  • Elmer Fudd

    Claude, you are the blog, man.

  • JDTX

    Greetings neighbors and fellow blog readers,

    I can’t help but notice that if a skyscraper does in fact go up behind Pier 17 and the South Street Seaport there is a good possibility that it will block the view of the beloved Woolworth Building from the Promenade/Brooklyn Bridge Park. Am I correct in my estimation, and has anyone else had this same thought or worry? I think it would be absolutely tragic to lose such an iconic piece of the New York City skyline to a new building such as this. Thanks.

  • David on Middagh

    JDTX, I had the same thought.

    When the shiny twisted building went up (which I actually like, tho’ it needs a better top-off), it blocked the view of the Woolworth Building from the Brooklyn Bridge. The proposed skyscraper as pictured above would be an even worse trade-off.

    Another thought: now that the huge old brutalist AT&T switching center (the one with the huge Verizon logo) is no longer essential for its original function, let’s take it down instead of allowing it to be converted for other use. It has blighted the skyline long enough.