In 2012 the New York City Council approved NYU’s Core Project, granting a zoning envelope within which the University is able to construct new facilities over the coming years.
Download the NYU Core Plan Fact Sheet to learn more about the plan and its execution, or explore the details below.
In 2007, five years after a Transition Team report identified NYU's critical lack of space, a first-of-its-kind strategic plan for growth determined a potential overall need of 6 million square feet over 25 years in three main locations: NYU’s “Core” near Washington Square Park; Downtown Brooklyn; and the First Avenue Health Corridor. In the Core, the plan identified space needs including classrooms, science and non-science research space, student dormitories, faculty offices, faculty housing and performing arts facilities.
Ultimately, NYU sought approval for its Core Project under the City’s land use approval process known as ULURP -- Uniform Land Use Review Procedure -- and sought, among other things, to amend the City map and modify existing restrictions applicable to the two superblocks owned by the University. During the strategic planning process and throughout the ULURP, NYU held hundreds of meetings with local elected officials, community groups, civic organizations, faculty and students groups, and other stakeholders.
The City Council’s approval grants 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.
It also provides for the creation of additional open space, new landscape improvements, and community facilities on the blocks.
The approvals require certain allocations of community facility space. Some of those commitments have already been implemented:
Following the ULURP approvals, the University Space Priorities Working Group (“USPWG”) was established to review priorities and provide recommendations for the utilization of the zoning envelope defined by the City. The USPWG was comprised of NYU faculty, students, and administrative members.
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 and Recreation Center. Redeveloping the Coles site will provide classrooms, spaces for the performing arts, dedicated student study and student life spaces, a new recreational and athletic center with emergency assembly space, student residences, and faculty housing.
With respect to the north block, where no construction can take place until 2022 at the earliest, the Working Group recommended that the University undertake a similar consultative process before proceeding. The University supported these recommendations in March 2014.
The Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee was formed in May 2014 at the recommendation of the Space Priorities Working Group. It is comprised of NYU faculty, students, and administrators, as well as representatives from the Washington Square Village and Silver Towers tenants’ associations. The Committee will provide ongoing input regarding quality-of-life issues on the Superblocks before, during, and after construction, including pre-construction protocols, the design process, construction mitigation efforts, ongoing stewardship, and communication between the University and its neighbors. The Committee maintains a public website.
Construction on the Coles site means that NYU will be without its main sports and recreational facility until the new building is completed. A Coles Advisory Committee has been formed to provide guidance on NYU’s efforts to continue providing fitness options and a robust athletics program during the period that Coles in unavailable. The Committee is comprised of students from various athletic programs, members of Coles from the Faculty Senators Council and Administrative Management Council, Athletics Department employees, and alumni members of Coles.
To advance the creation and enhancement of public open space in relation to the Core project, NYU has retained a landscape architect to prepare design concepts for certain new public open spaces along sections of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker Street. In spring 2014, the Open Space Oversight Organization provided comment and feedback on the concepts. The designs are currently under review at the Parks Department in preparation for submission to the Public Design Commission. The OSOO will remain involved throughout the process.
Two lawsuits were commenced following the issuance of the ULURP approvals. In the first, certain rent-stabilized tenants residing in Washington Square Village alleged that changes proposed to the interior courtyard between the two Washington Square Village buildings would deprive them of services required by the Rent Stabilization Law. This lawsuit was dismissed in March 2013. The plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal but the time by which they were required to perfect their appeal has expired. Accordingly this matter is now effectively closed.
The second lawsuit was an Article 78 proceeding initiated by various community groups and certain NYU faculty members. It sought, among other things, to overturn the City Council's approval of NYU’s Core Plan on grounds including that NYU’s Environmental Impact Statement was deficient and that portions of the Superblocks were parkland and therefore could not be repurposed without approval of the State Legislature. The State Supreme Court dismissed five of the petitioner's six claims, including the claim that the ULURP review was "arbitrary and capricious." The sixth claim involved whether five City-owned strips of land included in the project constituted “implied parkland”. On the claim of “implied parkland”, the Court held in favor of NYU with respect to two parcels and found for the petitioners with respect to three parcels. The Court also issued an injunction enjoining NYU from beginning any construction that would result in alienation of any of the three parcels that it found to be parkland unless and until the State legislature authorized their alienation. The opinion did not preclude NYU from otherwise moving forward with the Core Plan. NYU and the City appealed the Court’s decision with respect to the three parcels found to be parkland and the petitioners cross-appealed.
On October 14, 2014, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the legal proceeding that sought to overturn the City Council approvals related to NYU's Core Space Plan. The Court affirmed the validity of the approvals process for our project and overturned the lower court's ruling that some parcels of land abutting proposed new facilities constituted implied parkland.
Contact the Office of Government and Community Affairs (OGCA), NYU's primary liaison to the community. OGCA fields questions, addresses concerns, and disseminates information on a variety of University topics, ranging from free and public events to updates on construction projects.
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