General Growth Properties plans for the South Street Seaport appeared sunk when the retail giant filed for bankruptcy last year. All was not lost at sea, though, as lead architect Gregg Pasquarelli, of SHoP Architects, told The Observer back in September: “We assume the Seaport will be going forward at some point. We believe it’s one of their best assets, so we hope it’s one they’ll be working on soon.”
Then came the news in October that hedgie and shrewd real estate investor Bill Ackman would be in charge of Howard Hughes Corp, the General Growth spin-off redeveloping the seaport. The Observer has put in numerous calls to Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital to try and figure out what exactly is in store, but we’ve yet to hear back.
Now, one of Pasquarelli’s colleagues, Corie Sharples, has told DNAinfo that SHoP has yet to do any new design work, but the firm has been meeting with Howard Hughes about they project. “They’re proceeding very, very cautiously,” Sharples said. “They’re talking with the city before doing anything else.”
It should be interesting to see what results from the talks. The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission was lukewarm about the project when it was first presented in 2008, and the community downright hated it. But these are more difficult times to be building in the city.
On the one hand, finding financing could prove difficult. On the other, city officials, developers and construction unions are all desperate for just about anything to get built, which could make it easier to force an ostentatious project through the public review process. (Just ask Steve Roth about that.)