Wily Bill Ackman Gets His East Side Development (But Not the One You Think)

So Bill Ackman’s not gonna wind up with Stuyvesant Town, even if he’ll still probably make his money back. That won’t stop him. Whatever Wily Bill wants, Wily Bill gets. If it happens to be a development site somewhere on the southeastern side of Manhattan, then so be it, Bill will find a way.

Sure the South Street Seaport isn’t an 11,200-unit apartment complex in a prime location. But it could be even better, if Gregg Pasquarelli and SHoP get their way.

To clarify, Ackman is now in charge of Howard Hughes Corp., an entity that is being spun off from General Growth Properties, as the gigantic retailer exits the largest real estate-related bankruptcy in the nation’s history. General Growth will continue to operate the company’s malls, while Howard Hughes will takeover its major development projects.

These include the Seaport, where the pre-bankruptcy General Growth had proposed turning the outmoded Pier 17 into a modern retail and condo complex, complete with a 42-story tower. The project still awaits approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, though the tower is outside its purview.

As for the name, Ackman explained it to Bloomberg thusly:

“The Howard Hughes name — which reflects the success and vision of one of our country’s greatest entrepreneurs — is a fitting brand for this world-class portfolio of real estate assets.”

And yet the first thing that came to mind when the Real Estate Desk heard the name Howard Hughes was the Spruce Goose, the tycoon’s attempt to build the largest plane ever, which managed to take off but once due to its poor design. The Desk would hate to think Ackman has jinxed his outsized project at the Seaport. If so, it could all turn out rather badly…

Wily Bill Ackman Gets His East Side Development (But Not the One You Think)