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Appeals Court Rules Howard Hughes' Seaport Tower Can Go Forward, Overturning Previous Court Rejection

The empty lot at 250 Water St., where an appellate judge has given developer The Howard Hughes Corp. permission to move ahead with a 399-unit residential building.

A planned 25-story residential tower in Manhattan’s Seaport neighborhood can go ahead, an appeals court has ruled, putting an end to years of legal action against the project.

The proposed building would contain 399 units, roughly 100 of which would be reserved as affordable housing, at 250 Water St. New York state Appellate Court's First Department unanimously granted permission to developer The Howard Hughes Corp. to move ahead with the project, reversing an order issued by a New York Supreme Court judge earlier this year, The Real Deal reported.

The development first ran into difficulty in 2021, when local residents sued to stop the project on the grounds that it would block their view. Some locals encouraged the city to use the site — which has been a parking lot since 1997 — as a tow pound rather than approve the development, the New York Post reported.

Community organization South Street Seaport Coalition sued to stop the project, arguing that the project’s scale wasn’t appropriate for the neighborhood. It also alleged that the Landmarks Preservation Commission was swayed by the developer’s promise of affordable housing and renovations to the South Street Seaport Museum, which are not appropriate to the agency’s mandate, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled last year that the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to allow the development was “null and void,” directing all construction work to cease immediately. The appellate court ruling from the appellate court overturns that, allowing The Howard Hughes Corp. to move ahead.

“We are gratified by the court's decision, which confirms what we have maintained all along: the Landmarks Preservation Commission's approval of our project was proper and made in full compliance with the Landmarks Law,” Zach Winick, The Howard Hughes Corp.'s New York region co-president, said in a statement.