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NYC Department of City Planning Certifies NYU’S Plan for University-Owned Superblocks

January 3, 2012
N-165, 2011-12

- Project Will Ensure that University’s Facilities Keep Pace with Academic Aims -

After a five-year planning process and dialogue with its neighbors, NYU’s proposals for new academic facilities at its Washington Square core were certified today by the Department of City Planning (DCP).  NYU Core is part of the University’s 20-year, city-wide strategic academic space plan, NYU 2031: NYU in NYC, aiming to ensure that NYU’s academic capability is not undercut by its physical capacity.

Under the NYU Core plan, new academic space would allow NYU to expand on the University-owned ‘superblocks’ bordered by West 3rd Street, West Houston Street, Mercer Street and LaGuardia Place. NYU Core will add approximately 1.3 million square feet in four new buildings to include educational uses, faculty and student housing, a new athletic facility, a University-affiliated hotel, and neighborhood retail uses.  Another 1.1 million square feet of academic and athletic space is planned below-grade.  The project would create an estimated 18,200 construction jobs, as well as 2,600 long-term employment opportunities. NYU is one the largest private research universities in the United States, with over 55,000 students; and one of the largest employers in New York City, with over 16,000 employees.

The NYU Core plan will permit NYU to meet its space needs near its Washington Square core while staying within its existing footprint; it does not involve any “up-zoning” or request for development rights beyond those already existing for the blocks, it will not require the use of eminent domain, and it does not require displacement of any residential tenants. The goal of the NYU Core plan is three-fold:

1.     To allow the University to meet the need for new academic space near existing facilities and on blocks already owned by NYU, thereby relieving the pressure to build and spread the Washington Square campus outward;

2.     To take large blocks which were created under Urban Renewal in the 1950s, and weave them back into the urban landscape while making them accessible and welcoming to the broader community; and,

3.     To create one cohesive plan that knits together public and private open space and creates over three acres of public, open, useable space for a range of activities including children’s playgrounds, dog runs, and quiet sitting areas for all ages.

NYU’s 2031 plans also acknowledge that not all of its future growth can be accommodated at its Washington Square campus and a full half of its projected growth is projected in other locations including along Manhattan’s Eastside health corridor (First Avenue in the 20s and 30s), in Downtown Brooklyn (where NYU has recently proposed the creation of an applied science institute), and possibly on Governors Island.

“Strong universities are important to the city’s economic future, and keeping them strong requires space for teaching, learning, and research,” said NYU Senior Vice President Lynne Brown. “The NYU Core plan calls for collaboration with stakeholders and the City in an effort to bring clarity of design and purpose to our University-owned superblocks.  The certification of this project is the first of many steps towards reaching this goal and we’re looking forward to continuing this dialogue as we move through the ULURP process.”

The Core project has a 20-year, two-phase construction horizon, concluding in 2031. In the first phase, to conclude by 2021, two buildings are proposed for the southern block: 1) a mixed-use facility to be built on the site of the Coles gym – whose distinctive design has led it to be called the "zipper" building – that will accommodate academic uses , a rebuilt athletic facility, student and faculty housing, a university-affiliated hotel, and ground floor retail; and 2) a building  on Bleecker and LaGuardia, featuring a public school, and NYU dormitory and classroom space.  The north block development, which includes a significant amount of teaching and learning spaces, is slated to occur in the second phase between 2021 and 2031. Multiple City approvals are required to facilitate the project, including: a zoning map change, zoning text amendments, removal of Deed Restrictions, a Large Scale General Development special permit, and a change in the City map.

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 

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.



This Press Release is in the following Topics:
NYU 2031, All University

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: John Beckman | (212) 998-6848

NYC Department of City Planning Certifies NYU’S Plan for University-Owned Superblocks

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