Creating a new vision for a popular tourist destination, The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) in conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corporation has reached an agreement to redevelop the South Street Seaport.

South Street Seaport at Pier 17 on the East River, above, and its proposed redevelopment. Above, NYLJ/Rick Kopstein; below, Courtesy of Howard Hughes Corporation.

Comprised of historic buildings and a pavilion shopping mall, the South Street Seaport is located at Pier 17 on the East River. The redevelopment project will involve a partial reconstruction of about 250,000 square feet with an entirely new design, making the most of harbor views and outdoor space, along with retail components and entertainment events.

“We are pleased to partner with the NYCEDC on the next chapter of the seaport,” David Weinreb, HHC’s CEO at its headquarters in Dallas, said in a statement. The redevelopment will create “an unparalleled New York experience for residents, workers and visitors,” he said.

Benjamin Needell and Marco Caffuzzi, partners at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, represented HHC along with HHC general counsel Peter Riley, in Dallas.

Paul Selver and Charles Warren, partners at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, acted as special land and environmental counsel for HHC, along with Kramer Levin special counsel Karen Leo Mintzer and Patrick Sullivan.

Isabel Galis-Menendez, a senior counsel in the New York City Law Department‘s economic development division, represented the NYCEDC.

The South Street Seaport was one of the assets inherited when HHC was “spun off from General Growth Properties” in November 2010, said Christopher Curry, HHC’s senior executive vice president-development.

The project has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and has received support from Community Board One, and HHC’s proposal will be evaluated under the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

HHC has been working with SHoP Architects to design a glass-façade building to showcase views of the skyline, East River and Brooklyn Bridge, incorporating contemporary retail and restaurant spaces. There also will be access to an open rooftop and outside plaza areas.

Both parties declined to provide an estimate on the cost of the project. Over the past decade, the city has spent billions on waterfront development along its 560-mile shoreline, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to an NYCEDC press release, the agency issued a request for proposals for “Change the Course,” seeking cost-effective ways to address infrastructure problems. The competition will focus on the Fulton Fish Market/South Street Seaport and Pier 35 along the East River as well as the Hudson River Park.

Construction for the redevelopment of South Street Seaport is expected to start in 2013 with completion in 2015. Once construction begins, tenants, many of which are short-term, will vacate as necessary and eventually the building will be entirely closed to complete construction, Curry said.

The Howard Hughes Corporation is a developer and operator of master planned communities and mixed-use properties in 18 states, such as Summerlin in Las Vegas, Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans and Ward Centers in Honolulu.

Patrick O’Sullivan, the NYCEDC’s executive vice president, and senior project manager Jeffrey Nelson are part of the real estate team that worked on the project.

Asia-based Toppan Vite Ltd. is opening its first office in Manhattan at 747 Third Ave. The financial printing and publishing company has signed a 10-year lease for 20,792 square feet.

The 38-story, more than 403,400-square-foot class-A office building, between East 46th and East 47th streets, is owned by William Kaufman Organization and The Travelers Companies Inc., according to the property’s website.

“Toppan Vite was looking for a high-quality office space for a new business it will be launching in Manhattan,” said Frank Doyle, a vice chairman at Jones Lang LaSalle, who assisted the landlord on the lease. The printing group was particularly interested in space along the Third Avenue corridor within the Grand Central District that would allow for expansion, he said.

Toppan Printing Company America Inc., an affiliate of Toppan Vite, is also a tenant at 747 Third Ave.

Jody Saltzman, counsel at Salans, represented the tenant.

William Lang and Arthur Rosner, partners at Nixon Peabody, represented the landlord.

The asking range at 747 Third Ave. is between $55 and $63 per square foot. Toppan Vite has leased the entire sixth floor and has access to the seventh floor terrace area.

Toppan Vite was founded in Hong Kong in 1987. It was later acquired by Singapore-based SNP Corporation and then acquired by Toppan Printing Company in 2008. It now has six locations, including London and Beijing.

Teams from Jones Lang LaSalle handled the deal for both parties. Alex Chudnoff, executive managing director, and Dan Turkewitz, senior vice president, served the tenant.

In addition to Doyle, Cynthia Wasserberger, managing director, and Alexis Tener, vice president, assisted the landlord on the lease. Michael Lenchner, vice president and director of leasing at Sage Realty Corp., also acted on behalf of the landlord.