Contact Us

A Decade In The Making: The History Behind 80 South Street

There are more than 100 supertall towers (taller than 984 feet) in the world, several of which are in NYC. With any project that innovates, the whole picture needs to be seen, so the right lessons can be taken away. That’s why we’re taking a look at NYC’s supertalls and megadevelopments. Last week we started with Macklowe Properties and CIM Group’s 1,396-foot 432 Park Ave, and now we’re looking south to China Oceanwide Holdings1,436-foot 80 South Street

A Decade of Setbacks


This isn’t the first time a huge tower was planned for the Lower Manhattan site, which houses a six-story, red-brick building (pictured) that was used as a set for the short-lived AMC series Rubicon


In 2003, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed a tower consisting of 12 four-story “floating boxes” cantilevered over a 1,123-foot central concrete column and an eight-story base. Calatrava said the design was inspired by a sculpture he made in 1985 (pictured).

To be developed by Frank Sciame, Calatrava’s tower would’ve included a “cultural space,” offices and 10, 10k SF individual residences with outdoor gardens. Each residence was expected to cost $29M with the exception of the top cube, which boasted a $59M price tag. 

Although the plans received approval from the city in February 2005 and the property was one of three properties under contract to Anbau Enterprises for $106.5M, the development was cancelled in April 2008 in wake of the global economic crisis and waning sales. 


In 2013, Queens developer Cord Meyer and Morali Architects submitted new plans for a 1,018-foot skyscraper (pictured) with garden spaces every 10 floors and a sky garden on the roof, but this was tossed when The Howard Hughes Corp purchased the site in 2014 for $100M

The developer—which also picked up a parcel at 173 Front St for $24M—quickly received approval from the City Planning Commission for a 820k SF tower, and secured thousands of square feet in additional air rights. 

Last March, however, the Howard Hughes Corp put the site up for sale, planning to use the funds to accelerate the South Street Seaport and Pier 17’s development. The developer sold the site (and a neighboring parcel at 163 Front St) to China Oceanwide Holdings for $390M in one of the largest development site buys of the year. 

Originally announced in August 2015, the sale was delayed for City Planning approval of a 303k SF air rights transfer, which was finally approved this March. 

Third Time’s The Charm


Designed by SHoP Architects, 80 South St is expected to rise to 1,436 feet, making its roof 50 feet taller than Silverstein Properties’ One World Trade Center, the tallest building by roof height in Lower Manhattan, the second tallest tower in NYC and the third tallest building in the US.

SHoP’s 820k SF, 113-story tower is slated to have 441k SF of residential space and 377k SF space for hotel, office or retail use. It’s unknown how many units it would hold.

The exact materials of the building are also unspecified, but it’s expected to be torqued, thin and taper slightly as it rises. No completion date has been announced, and China Oceanwide Holdings hasn’t confirmed if it will continue with SHoP’s design.

Although the tower will be near Howard Hughes’ South Street Seaport, it’s not technically a part of the Seaport Historic District. The tower has inspired some ire from Downtown residents, however, as the tower could only further strain the neighborhood’s school system.