Howard Hughes Corporation obtained final approval from New York City for its mixed-use project in the South Seaport Historical District after several years of setbacks from neighborhood activists.
The developer announced Wednesday that it can finally begin construction of its 26-story project on 250 Water Street, which will include 270 leases over a five-story base with Class A office, retail and community space. The $ 850 million project will also include 70 affordable housing units.
Howard Hughes is able to continue with the project after agreeing to donate $ 40 million to the development of the South Street Seaport Museum. The city has agreed to pay an additional $ 10 million to the museum.
The company also announced that it had obtained approval from the city to extend its base lease at the port to 99 years.
The project, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), is expected to break down in 2022 and will replace an existing car park.
The mixed-use project has been at the center of a battle with neighborhood activists who claimed the development would be out of touch with the district’s historic components.
The $ 50 million in funding for the museum was a major issue.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said she would withhold her support for the project until the museum’s money was secured. A spokesman for the developer noted that the funding figure was originally based on the proposed transfer of 415,000 square feet of air rights, but the project was scaled down to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The builder scrapped his plans to build a 360-unit tower with 100 affordable apartments in favor of a 25-story 270-unit building with 70 affordable units, leaving less potential surplus to throw the museum’s path.
The property, which has been a parking lot for decades, was once home to a thermometer factory.
Howard Hughes bought 250 Water Street in 2018 for $ 180 million. The previous owner, the Mistein family, had repeatedly tried and failed to secure permits to build there.