Testimony from the Real Estate Board of New York to Landmarks Preservation Commission in Support of the Tin Building and South Street Seaport Redevelopment

The Real Estate Board of New York, Inc. (REBNY) is a broadly based trade association of over 17,000 owners, developers, brokers, managers and real estate professionals active throughout New York City. We strongly support the preservation and reconstruction plan for the Tin Building by the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC).

Currently, the Seaport is in the midst of an infrastructure emergency as the Tin Building and the wooden platform it sits on is crumbling. With strong support from the local Community Board, HHC will rectify this situation by investing millions of private dollars to rebuild the pier platform, renovate the Tin Building and move it out of the floodplain. Once the building has been delicately dismantled, it will be raised up out of the 100 year floodplain to meet FEMA guidelines and assure future resiliency.

The building will also be rebuilt 30 feet back to open up the views of its historic façade and reconnect the building to the street with its entryway, no longer buried beneath the FDR. With the building lifted out of the floodplain and back from the FDR, the Tin Building will regain its visibility and its historic façade will be revived to its original appearance. The pier will attract foot traffic where visitors can take advantage of the improved esplanade, a new view corridor to the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, and enhanced accessibility and openness in the historic neighborhood. With this major investment, this relic will no longer be an eyesore or a public safety concern for the neighborhood.

In addition, HHC will be enhancing access in the Seaport District by extending Beekman and Fulton Streets onto the pier. Integrating the waterfront into the neighborhood fabric will bring more open space and the amenities offered in Pier 17 to those arriving on foot, by car or bicycle. Once completed, the pedestrian and vehicular pathways into Pier 17 will create another integral link between the Seaport and the rest of the city.

Restoring the historic Tin Building will be a key step in reestablishing the South Street Seaport. Howard Hughes Corporation has set forth a plan that would strengthen the lively Lower Manhattan community and restore the Seaport as a premier destination for locals and visitors. We strongly urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve the plan so that necessary infrastructure upgrades can be done to preserve our historic Seaport.