Thursday, July 26, 2012

Huge NYU Expansion Approved by City Council

New York University's plan to expand its campus by nearly 2 million square feet in Greenwich Village won nearly unanimous approval from the City Council this week. The City Council overwhelmingly approves the school's plan to add nearly 2 million square feet to its Greenwich Village campus. The "Yes" vote comes after numerous compromises, which have scaled back the school's original proposals by nearly 25%.

The expansion, which had been agreed upon by two council committees last week, was about a quarter smaller than the university had originally sought.

As they voted in favor the expansion plan, council members praised it and credited Councilwoman Margaret Chin for helping to reach a compromise. Opponents, some of whom had to be escorted by officers from the council chamber balcony during the session, insisted that the cuts in the size of the school's planned growth did not go deep enough.

"There's not a single community group that worked on this that's satisfied with what's been arrived at," said Andrew Berman, executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Mr. Berman said that his organization would work with the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to pursue a legal case against NYU.

Construction on the first of the new buildings is slated to begin in late 2013, or early 2014. As passed, the university's application for expansion includes a commitment from NYU to build a community center and preserve public space for the community.

The sole "No" vote came from Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn, who voted against the expansion in each of the related land use bills.