Howard Hughes Corp. has presented a transformation plan to revitalize the Lower Manhattan seaport. The $ 1.4 billion proposal will bring mixed-income development and the region's first affordable housing units to market in decades. The project is in a block parking lot at 250 Water Street in the historic South Street Seaport neighborhood.
The affordable housing component is essential to Howard Hughes' proposal. The median household income in the district is $ 150,000 and 2.5% of housing in the area is considered affordable housing. The project comprises a total of 360 residential units, and 100 residential units are reserved for affordable housing – 25% of the total project. These are the first affordable new housing units in the region in decades and are made available to families earning 40% of the median area income. The remaining 260 units will be condominiums for sale.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architects designed the 250 Water Street project. It has a two-tower design with a scaled pedestal base that fits into the design of the adjacent buildings in the historic district to preserve the character of the community.
The development proposal is, according to Howard Hughes Corp. Bring financial stability to the region and is particularly beneficial given the post-pandemic economic recovery. The city and state are expected to have an economic impact of $ 1.8 billion, create nearly 2,500 permanent jobs, and around 2,000 construction jobs. In addition, the proposal provides resources and support to the nearby Seaport Museum, which oversees a portfolio of historic assets in the area, including a 19th-century house on Schermerhorn range, a functioning printing press, and a fleet of historic ships. The proposal includes $ 50 million for the museum that will help advance an initial phase of restoration and rehabilitation.
The project has a strong financial base. Howard Hughes has already paid off the seaport lease debt and has $ 1 billion on his balance sheet. As a result, despite the recent market uncertainty, it is in a strong position to carry out and develop the project. The next step forward is a full public review that provides an opportunity for community engagement and public comment. The review process will begin in spring 2021 and construction will begin in 2022.
Affordable housing is in high demand across the country, and the pandemic has put more pressure on the CRE market to offer more affordable housing units. For example, Morgan has Stanley announced a $ 1 billion social loan to help develop affordable housing.