Friday, September 16, 2011

New York University Revises Expansion Plans

In an effort to overcome fierce neighborhood opposition to its growth strategy, New York University announced another tweak to its ambitious expansion plans on Thursday: the school will guarantee that two plots will permanently remain as parkland.

The university has decided against purchasing all the strips of land that are owned by the city in and around the Washington Square Village super-block just a block above Houston Street in Greenwich Village. Instead, the school will seek to designate two of the strips along LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street, east and west of the Washington Square Village, as parkland. As a result, NYU will revise plans for the two academic buildings it has proposed to build on the block so that “no portion of them will rest on the newly-designated parkland.”

The change will be reflected in the school's application to the Department of City Planning as it starts the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the lengthy public-approval process that NYU needs to go through before it can build.

Community groups and elected officials had rallied against NYU’s plans to take over more than two acres of city-owned land in the area for its expansion plans. Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031 and Community Board 2 were not informed of the change and could not comment.

NYU has proposed a 14-story building on the eastern edge of the Washington Square Village block, along Mercer Street, and an eight-story building on the west side of the block off the LaGuardia Place strip.

On Thursday, NYU also reaffirmed that it will donate the corner of Houston and Bleecker streets to the city for a seven-story, 100,000-square-foot public school in place of what is now a Morton William’s Supermarket. The store will be relocated.

NYU's 20-year growth plan calls for the addition of 6 million square feet. Half of that will be in Greenwich Village and the areas surrounding Washington Square Park.

Proposed Construction Projects
Below is a listing of 33 construction projects under review by the NYC Department of Buildings to be built in the Washington Square area over the next five years. (Download the complete list by clicking here)