As early as 2002, NYU acknowledged that in order to maintain a culture of academic excellence and progress, it would need to increase space for faculty and students.
Before developing a plan for growth, the University consulted with internal NYU groups, elected officials, and community organizations.
In 2007, NYU created an overall strategic plan that projected the University would need approximately 6 million square feet over the next 25 years. At the time of the plan's initiation, the University recognized that all space could not be accommodated in the NYU core campus in the Washington Square Park vicinity, and that at least half would need to exist elsewhere, including Brooklyn and the First Avenue Health Corridor. NYU’s plan for space in NYU’s core campus is called “The Core Plan,” which was presented at hundreds of meetings to a multitude of groups.
In 2012, the University sought approval for The Core Plan under the City’s land use approval process via the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). New York City Council approvals were obtained in July 2012 with a vote of 51:1. The approved plan granted NYU permission to develop new facilities on the two superblocks bounded by West 3rd Street and West Houston Street to the north and south, and by Mercer Street and LaGuardia Place to the east and west.
Following the ULURP approvals, the University Space Priorities Working Group (USPWG), comprised of NYU faculty, students, and administrative members, was established to review priorities and provide recommendations for the superblocks. After an 18-month process of consultation and deliberation, the Working Group recommended that NYU construct a mixed-use building on the current site of the Coles Sports Center (181 Mercer Street).
In 2014, the USPWG issued their final report, which also recommended the creation of the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee to provide advice to the University and a forum for consultation on quality-of-life issues on the superblocks before, during, and after construction. Including involvement in the 181 Mercer Street architect selection process, engagement of an independent consultant to set high standards for the mitigation of the effects of construction, and development of protocols for use of open common spaces on the superblocks.
181 Mercer Street, the new multi-use building, will house much-needed new classrooms, performing arts education and training spaces, a modern athletic facility, student and faculty housing, and approximately 7,500 square feet of space for a public atrium and community uses. For more information on construction please visit the 181 Mercer Street construction page.
NYU is committed to minimizing the effects of dust, noise, and traffic in the vicinity of the construction site and has developed a plan with the Turner Construction Company (NYU’s construction manager for the project) to implement NYU’s Restrictive Declaration commitments to construction mitigation. The Restrictive Declaration details project requirements including construction mitigation measures, project phasing, and open space maintenance. The Restrictive Declaration also requires that an independent third party monitor oversee the implementation and performance of NYU’s commitments and project components on behalf of the NYC Department of City Planning. With the approval of the Department of City Planning, Henningson, Durham & Richardson Architecture and Engineering, P.C. (HDR) has been retained as the independent third party monitor for the 181 Mercer Street project.
Before, during, and after construction, the Superblocks Stewardship Advisory Committee will provide ongoing input regarding quality-of-life issues on the superblocks.