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Op/Ed: Magee Responds to LaValva on Seaport Concerns

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Editor’s note: A short time ago, we posted an Op/Ed from New Amsterdam Market founder Robert LaValva concerning the future of the old Fulton Fish Market buildings at the Seaport. The piece addressed two TLD articles in which Kelly Magee, City Council member Margaret Chin’s director of communications, explained Chin’s point of view on a redevelopment plan announced this week.  Here’s Magee’s written response (in this case she is speaking for herself, not Council member Chin):

We have always held that the Tin Building and New Market Building were outside of the scope of this ULURP application. This has been the subject of numerous discussions between our office and Mr. LaValva, and we will have to agree to disagree on this point. The deal struck by Speaker Quinn and Council Member Chin to secure space for two regional food markets at the Seaport was nothing short of a massive victory. These two buildings will be subject to their own, separate, ULURP process – which will require City Council approval – when, and if, a development plan is put forth by Howard Hughes.”

In fact, even if the Howard Hughes Corporation does not exercise its option to the Tin and New Market Building, then the City is required to release a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to develop a locally-sourced, public market in the Tin Building. This guarantees a market gets built in the Tin Building.

Furthermore, the City does not require “approval” from Howard Hughes to do this.

By suggesting that the City requires “approval” from Howard Hughes, Robert is blatantly misrepresenting the “non-compete” clause that is included in the 1981 Lease, and is expanded to the Tin and New Market Building under the amended and restated lease. In reality, Howard Hughes must either consent to the City’s use of the Tin Building as a public market, or if they do not consent, be permitted to match the proposal. Either way, a market gets built.

While the Council Member  – who shops at the market every weekend – has supported the New Amsterdam Market and Robert’s vision, she never offered to seek $25 million in capital funding to rehabilitate the Tin and New Market Building. A request for $25 million is more than the Council could ever fund.

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  1. A “massive victory”, to use Ms. Magee’s term, would have been for the New Amsterdam Market to have been included somehow in this “deal” she is so proud of. Now she gets all defensive with words like “blatantly misrepresenting”, when we are the ones who rightfully feel that way. This is so disappointing, but so typical a betrayal by local politicians at the last minute. Why don’t you approve another historic Bowery building be demolished now, Councilwoman Chin?

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