Manhattan, NY The Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) celebrated the topping out of the Tin Building in the Seaport District at Pier 17. Attended by over 100 community partners, families and elected officials, the event included the symbolic raising of the building’s final structural beam and a special “giving back” donation to the local nonprofit, The Bowery Mission.
Remarks were made by guests including Matthew Washington, Manhattan deputy borough president; and David Jones, president and CEO of The Bowery Mission; and Saul Scherl, president of the New York Tri-State Region of HHC. Through a video message, Jean-Georges Vongerichten welcomed guests and said he looked forward to working with the local schools and hosting students and their families at a preview visit to his kitchen at the future food hall.
In 2016, HHC partnered with chef Vongerichten to plan a relaunch of the Tin Building as a 53,000 s/f food hall, incorporating aspects of the best international food experiences into an authentically New York environment. In May 2019 at the Seaport, Jean-Georges also opened The Fulton, the acclaimed waterfront restaurant at Pier 17 adjacent to the Tin Building. The topping out of the new Tin Building brings the project a significant step closer to completion—one which preserves the unique identity of the historic building while providing a more sustainable structure, enhanced public amenities and expanded access to the waterfront.
Set to open in 2021, the new Tin Building is designed to be a be a mainstay of the Seaport community and the city at large, a place where residents, Lower Manhattan workers, and all New Yorkers can come to grab a quick bite, enjoy a meal with friends, or shop for fresh fish, produce and more to take home and cook with their families. Visitors will find many culinary options to savor inside the building, and many opportunities to enjoy the waterfront location outside on the terrace, along Pier 17, and throughout the district.
“It is great to see new life coming back to the Tin Building,” said Washington. “After the fire in the 1990s and the relocation of the old Fulton Fish Market, the area was abandoned for years. The whole process from demolition of the decrepit former structure to the rebuilding of the pier was delicate and has taken time, but to be able to bring a food hall and a market back to the area is really a special opportunity.”
Before turning to the recreation of the building, HHC began a complete reconstruction of the entire pier on which the Tin Building sits—a process which called for the demolition and reconstruction of all existing pier structures, including the use of new concrete and steel piles underneath the water. Only once the pier was rebuilt did the transfer of the Tin Building structure itself take place, which included the building being moved 32 ft. to the east and being lifted six feet above its original location to what is now one foot above the FEMA 100-year floodplain.
The process has been done in close coordination with New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and New York State’s Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), as well as New York City Economic Development Corp. (EDC). It has included the storage, cataloging, repair and refurbishment of 300 items from the original building for historical reference and reuse. The topping out follows the reinstallation of the original west canopy steel, dating back to 1907.
“For us, it was important to celebrate not only the reconstruction of the historic Tin Building but our great Seaport community, and today’s topping out and giving back was a perfect moment to recognize the great work of the Bowery Mission,” said Scherl. “The Bowery Mission celebrated its 140th anniversary this month, having brought hope and positive change to New Yorkers in need since the 1870s. Marking today’s event which celebrates food, community and revitalization, today’s donation will provide over 3,100 meals this Thanksgiving holiday.”
“We are fortunate to be part of the Seaport and Lower Manhattan community and have made it a priority through our Seaport Cares initiative to support local nonprofits, educational, cultural community events and programming,” Scherl said. “We are looking forward to volunteering for the third year in a row at The Bowery Mission’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, a “give back” that also reflects our portfolio-wide commitment to social impact initiatives through our corporate social responsibility program, Howard Hughes Cares (HHCares).”
“The Bowery Mission is honored to be part of this event commemorating the Tin Building,” said Jones. “Our relationship with the Howard Hughes team has only grown stronger over the years, as we witness the Seaport’s continued restoration and renewal. With continued partnership, our organization can continue to also help New Yorkers restore and rebuild community that was lost. With the Howard Hughes Corp.’s ‘giving back’ and employee volunteering, we can provide Thanksgiving and help so many rebuild.”