In testimony before the Landmarks Preservation Commission today, Lynne P. Brown, NYU’s Sr. Vice President of University Relations and Public Affairs, conveyed the University’s support for the “University Village” site – with its three I.M. Pei residential buildings in a “tower in the park” design – to be designated a landmark.

Her remarks to the Commission follow below:

Lynne P. Brown Remarks for LPC Hearing
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

“NYU is pleased to appear before you in support of the designation of the University Village site – with its three I.M. Pei residential buildings in a ‘tower in the park’ design – as a landmark. NYU owns all three buildings and occupies two of them, which we call Silver Towers and which house NYU faculty. The third tower is ground-leased by NYU to a Mitchell-Lama housing cooperative, 505 LaGuardia Pl. As an institution woven into the physical tapestry of the city, NYU takes seriously our responsibility to safeguard architecturally significant buildings. It is in that spirit that we offer our support for this designation.

“The University first commissioned Pei to prepare the original design for the site in 1960, with groundbreaking four years later, and completion in 1966. Also located on this superblock but outside the Landmark site is NYU’s Coles athletic facility, built in 1980, and the site of the Morton-Williams grocery store, which NYU acquired in 2000 with the stated intention of eventually developing a new building on that site. The University has been a faithful steward of this site over the past four decades and we are prepared to extend that stewardship for the benefit of future generations.

“This designation also comes at an important time for the University, as we have been engaged for over a year in a major strategic planning effort, NYU Plans 2031 – the first such undertaking in our history – to analyze and plan for our physical growth needs over a 25-year time horizon. Our goal is to plan thoughtfully for the long term; to introduce a measure of predictability and a new transparency to our campus planning; and to solicit community input and guidance at every stage of the process. As part of this extensive planning effort, working with an outside design team, the entire urban renewal site (i.e. the superblocks from Houston to 3rd St. and LaGuardia Pl. to Mercer St.) was analyzed and emerged as a vital piece of our future growth.

“The design team has recommended for NYU’s consideration that we NOT build on the Morton-William site but instead construct a 4th Tower on the northwest corner of the proposed landmark site. You will hear briefly today on the architectural rationale for this proposal and how a 4th Tower may complement the Pei complex. Although the discussion of possible future design proposals are not part of this designation process, we thought it important to bring this concept to the attention of the Commissioners, since the 4th Tower has been presented as an option in our public forums regarding NYU Plans 2031. We realize such a proposal will require our return to the Commission to present for your review any modifications to the designated area, including enhancement of the open space and a prospective tower.”

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