Community and Open Spaces

181 Mercer Street Community Facility Space

Overview: NYU will make approximately 7,500 square feet of community facility space on the ground floor level of 181 Mercer Street accessible to pedestrians from the Greene Street Walk, an outdoor feature to be created as part of the construction. For further reference, please review the NYU Letter to Council Member Margaret Chin from July 2012 and the Restrictive Declaration 6.1(b), p. 80.

Current Status: Conceptual design and program planning for 181 Mercer Street is underway and 7,500 square feet of community facility space is being factored into the design and programming of the building. This facet of the project will be ongoing during the design and construction of 181 Mercer.

181 Mercer Street North (Bleecker Street) Entry

Overview: The north entry of 181 Mercer Street along Bleecker Street will incorporate a small planting area on property under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Transportation. The design of the north entry landscape will be subject to review and approval by the NYC Public Design Commission. NYU will collaborate with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Parks, and the Public Design Commission to create a design for this area. For further reference, please review Restrictive Declaration 6 (a)(b)(c).

Current Status: Design of the north entry area is currently underway.

Bleecker Street Landscape

Overview: NYU will work with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and NYC Department of Transportation to improve the planting areas on Bleecker Street between Mercer Street and LaGuardia Place. Improvements include new plantings to add seasonal interest and variety to the understory, sidewalk re-paving, new fencing on the planting bed perimeter, and tree pruning and fertilizing. The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation took the lead in designing the landscape improvements, and Community Board 2 and the Open Space Oversight Organization were consulted prior to and during review and approval on October 5, 2015 by the Public Design Commission. For further reference, please review NYU’s presentation to the PDC Presentation, the NYU Letter to Council Member Margaret Chin from July 2012 and the Restrictive Declaration 6.1, p. 79.

Current Status: Construction of Bleecker Street Landscape is complete, and the space is now open and available to the public. View the presentation given by the Department of Transportation the Public Design Commission for the full design.

Financial Contribution for Playground Enhancements

Overview: NYU will make a contribution of $350,000 (adjusted for inflation) to NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for improvements at the LMNOP or Washington Square Park playgrounds. NYU will collaborate with the Department of Parks and Recreation on this project. Please refer to the Restrictive Declaration section 4.4 (f)(i), page 60 for further reference.

Current Status: NYU will make the contribution prior to the receipt of a building permit for the LaGuardia Building.

Greene Street Walk

Overview: The Greene Street Walk will run along the west side of the 181 Mercer Street at ground level, from West Houston Street to Bleecker Street, on property owned by NYU which is outside the boundary of the Silver Towers landmark site. The Walk is intended as a physical and visual link connecting Soho to Greenwich Village and NYU. The facade treatment and building uses of 181 Mercer Street at the ground level (i.e., building entries, amount of transparency, interior public spaces), along with landscaping and the provision of outdoor seating, will activate and enliven the walk. The intention is to draw people to the building along the Walk, and that it be well utilized for building access and for points north and south. For further reference, please review Restrictive Declaration 6.1, p. 79.

Current Status: The design of the Greene Street Walk is currently underway. The Greene Street Walk will be constructed as part of the 181 Mercer Street project.

Fiorello LaGuardia Park

Overview: Under the direction of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation, and the Open Space Oversight Organization (OSOO), NYU produced an upgrade plan for Fiorello LaGuardia Park, along LaGuardia Place between Bleecker Street and West 3rd Street. Design concepts were vetted with Community Board 2, the OSOO, at OSOO-led stakeholder meetings, and at a public forum, with ultimate design approval given by the Public Design Commission on October 5, 2015. Upgrades include new paving and widened pathways, the creation of a reading circle around the LaGuardia statue, tree pruning, removing dead or diseased trees and replanting with small ornamental trees, and installing seating. For further reference, review the Restrictive Declaration 6.1, p. 79.

Current Status: Construction of Fiorello LaGuardia Park is complete, the space is now open and available to the public. View the presentation given by the Department of Transportation the Public Design Commission for the full design.

Mercer-Houston Dog Run Relocation

Overview: NYU relocated the Mercer-Houston Street Dog Run, formerly along the west side of Mercer Street near Houston Street, to a new site beside Silver Towers I (110 Bleecker Street) just west of 181 Mercer Street. NYU and the Mercer-Houston Dog Run Association collaborated on a design that includes a water feature and climbing boulders, as well as seating and a small storage shed. NYU received approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for the dog run relocation in 2011 as part of a larger master plan for the Silver Towers site, and LPC staff approval on the dog run design details in early 2015. For further reference, please review Restrictive Declaration 6.1, p. 79.

Current Status: The new dog run is now complete. For more information about the dog run and membership options, visit mercerhoustondogrun.org.

Minority Women and Local Business Enterprises Plan

Overview: As part of its commitments to the City Council during land use approvals for the project, NYU agreed to implement a minority, women, and, local business enterprise (MWLBE) Plan prior to the start of project construction.

Current Status: NYU's MWLBE Plan for 181 Mercer Street is being implemented. Learn more at the MWLBE page.

Space for a Public School

Overview: The NYC School Construction Authority has the option to build a school which would be incorporated into the Bleecker Building. The SCA must provide NYU with notice of intent to build a school. In October 2014, at the request of Council Member Chin, NYU extended the SCA notice deadline from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2018. If the SCA indicates to the University that it intends to move forward with the project, construction must commence by July 31, 2020. NYU will provide the SCA with annual updates regarding NYU's anticipated construction schedule until the SCA's construction window has elapsed. NYU will collaborate with the Department of City Planning and the School Construction Authority on this project. For further reference, please review Restrictive Declaration sec 6.2(b), page 83.

Current Status: NYU sent the annual update letter for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Toddler Playground

Overview: NYU will construct a .25-acre playground on the Silver Towers block,just a few feet north of the Mercer Houston Street Dog Run Association’s dog run. ). At almost 11,000 square feet, this new playground will contain a variety of play equipment, landscaping, and seating, including the incorporation of the existing circular concrete seating. The Landmark Preservation Commission approved the playground location and concept in July 2011. Prior to construction of the playground, the final design will require additional review and approval by Landmarks. For further reference, please review the Restrictive Declaration section 4.3 (d)(i)(B), page 50.

Current Status: Planning for the Toddler Playground is currently underway. The design and construction of the playground will be completed during construction of 181 Mercer Street.

Sasaki Garden Site Improvements

Overview: NYU will make the Sasaki Garden more accessible to the public and increase public awareness of the Garden by posting wayfinding signage. Collaborators for this project include the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee and University administration. This commitment was made by NYU to Council Member Chin in July 2012. For further reference, please refer to NYU Letter to Council Member Margaret Chin from July 2012.

Current Status: In December 2015, the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee issued a report "Embracing a Better Quality of Life: Recommendations from the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee" that included a recommendation to improve access to the Sasaki Garden.

Seasonal Playground Associate

Overview: NYU will fund a seasonal playground associate for Washington Square Park to offset the potential increase in park users during construction of the LaGuardia Building on the north superblock. NYU will collaborate with the Department of Parks and Recreation on this project. For further reference, please review the Restrictive Declaration section 4.4 (f)(ii), page 61.

Current Status: This project will be part of the design/construction due diligence process related to LaGuardia building construction, which will not occur until 2022 at the earliest.

Washington Square Village Community Facility Space

Overview: NYU made 6,000 square feet of community facility space available in WSV 4, which is used for daycare and pre-K programs and managed by Creative Steps/University Settlement. In addition, based on community input and guidance from Council Member Margaret Chin, another 900 square feet of community facility space has been provided in WSV 3. Visiting Neighbors occupies the space and they provide outreach programs for seniors in Lower Manhattan. For further reference, please view the Council Member Margaret Chin's letter to the community from May 2013 and the NYU letter to Council Member Margaret Chin from July 2012.

Current Status: This project was completed November 2014. The Creative Steps Early Child Care Center is in operation in WSV 4. Visiting Neighbors is open and serving clients from their new office space. Meeting and activity space has also been provided for the WSV Tenants Association. Additionally, a large ground floor studio has been retrofitted for use as playspace for tenant families.

Mercer Street Plaza No-Build Agreement

Overview: Per the ULURP approvals and as memorialized in the Mapping Agreement, which sets out the conditions for the de-mapping of certain City-owned mapped rights-of-way on the periphery of the project site, the plaza on the west side of Mercer Street between West 3rd and West 4th Streets (the "CoGen Plaza") shall be used as permanent landscaped open space in perpetuity.

Current Status: The Mapping Agreement has been executed and the right-of-way de-mapped as a street. NYU owns the CoGen Plaza above and below grade and the plaza will remain landscaped open space in perpetuity.