Re-envisioning NYU’s Superblocks, the Plan Creates Public Access to Three Acres of Open Space, Adds Density but Imposes Height Restrictions
New Public School Slated for Morton Williams Site
New York University today previewed details of the expansion plan to meet its academic space needs in its central Washington Square area over the next two decades. The proposal will be reviewed through the City of New York’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP); NYU expects to start submitting documents related to environmental review to the Department of City Planning in the coming weeks.
It is anticipated that the first official public hearing, at which the community will have the opportunity to comment on the scope of the environmental impact statement to be prepared as part of the ULURP process, will be held in May 2011. The University will also be before the local Community Board and will be hosting its own information sessions.
“Our proposal calls for a reimagining of the two NYU superblocks to support our academic needs,” said NYU Senior Vice President Lynne P. Brown. “In addition to addressing the University’s long range needs for academic space, the plan also enhances the local area through the addition of new public open space to be programmed to serve a variety of constituencies.”
The plan calls for:
· the creation of public access to three acres of open space on the superblocks. The improvements include ensuring greater ability to traverse the blocks, as well as offering a mix of passive and active uses and the creation of playgrounds and a dog run that are intended to be open to the community;
· new facilities to be built without the use of eminent domain and without any residential tenant relocation;
· height restrictions to ensure none of the new facilities in the proposal will exceed the height of the existing IM Pei-designed University Towers; and
· the designation of the site to be provided to the City for construction of a new public school (at the corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place).
The plan is an outgrowth of NYU 2031: NYU in NYC, the city-wide framework for how and where NYU should develop space for its academic mission. The strategy, released last spring, envisions the addition of as much as 6 million sq. ft. of space over more than two decades, with half spread over three remote locations -- along Manhattan’s Eastside health corridor, in Downtown Brooklyn, and on Governors Island – and half in or near NYU’s core. The element of NYU 2031 that is to be considered through this ULURP process primarily focuses on NYU’s superblocks in Greenwich Village.
Specifics of the superblock plans include development of:
· two new academic buildings (academic department and faculty offices) on the Washington Square Village block. On the eastern edge, along Mercer Street, plans call for a 14-story building; on the west side of the block, plans call for enhancing the LaGuardia Place open space strip, which is the setting of the statue of Fiorello LaGuardia (the statue will remain) and the construction of an eight-story building which has shifted off of the LaGuardia strip. Additional classroom and student space will be built below grade beneath and between the two buildings;
· a seven-story public school with the addition of seven stories of NYU student residential space above on the site of the Morton Williams supermarket at the corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place; and
· a mixed-use, 800,000 square-foot, “zipper building” on the site of the current Coles Gym. The building will have a 4- to 5-story podium, with a series of towers ranging from 27 stories on the corner of Mercer and Houston Streets (which matches the existing Silver Towers height) to 8 stories in the middle of the block. Uses will include faculty and student residences, a University-affiliated hotel, classrooms, academic space, a rebuilt athletic facility, as well as retail space, including a new supermarket.
NYU will be hosting a series of focused, small-group open house discussions to garner additional community input in response to its proposals. Starting on March 21, people will be able to register and participate in one of these discussion groups or request a private briefing for their organization. In addition, there will be a standing display on the University’s plans at the NYU Open House space, 528 La Guardia Place, (open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.; Thursday 2:00 – 7:00 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.), and information is available on line at -- http://www.nyu.edu/nyu2031/nyuinnyc/.
About NYU 2031: NYU in NYC
NYU 2031: NYU in NYC, is a strategic framework for growth, aiming to be a thoughtful, comprehensive, city-wide vision for thinking about how to keep the University moving forward academically while respecting the communities and the city in which we make our home. For more information about NYU 2031 please log onto www.nyu.edu/nyu-in-nyc .
About New York University
New York University is located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Founded in 1831, it is one of America’s foremost research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 18 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.