From Past to Future

As early as 2002, NYU studies found that in order to maintain a culture of academic excellence and progress, there was a pressing need to increase space for faculty and students.


Space Planning
and the Core Plan

Consulting with internal NYU groups, elected officials, and community organizations in 2007, NYU created a strategic roadmap to address NYU’s space needs over the nearly 25 years between then and the University’s bicentennial in 2031. Part of the planning focused on needs near NYU’s Washington Square academic core of classrooms, laboratories, academic departments, and libraries. This came to be known as the Core Plan, which was presented at hundreds of meetings to a multitude of groups.

The Core Plan – which grants NYU permission to develop new facilities on two "superblocks" south of Washington Square -- went through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and was overwhelmingly approved by the New York City Council in July 2012 and later upheld by the New York State courts.

With the guidance of Councilmember Margaret Chin, NYU and the City memorialized an agreement (the Restrictive Declaration) that outlines a series of commitments to the community.

Guidance and Recommendations 

Following the City approvals, the University Space Priorities Working Group (comprised of NYU faculty, students, and administrative members), was established to review priorities and provide recommendations for the superblocks. It recommended that NYU proceed with a mixed-use building at 181 Mercer Street. The Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee has carried on the role of providing advice and consultation to the University on quality-of-life issues on the superblocks.

Moving Forward

The updates provided by the architects on the 181 Mercer Street project in December 2016 reflect all that has gone before it: NYU’s space needs; the planning process; the approvals process; and the guidance the University received and continues to receive by faculty, residents of the blocks, students, and administrators.

181 Mercer Street Construction and Mitigation

NYU is committed to minimizing the project’s construction impacts.

NYU’s effort to reduce the effects of dust, noise, and traffic in the vicinity of the construction site are guided by a series of commitments outlined in the Restrictive Declaration, which details construction mitigation measures, project phasing, open space maintenance, and oversight by an independent third party monitor (by Henningson, Durham & Richardson Architecture and Engineering, P.C.) that reports directly to the Department of City Planning.

Visit the 181 Mercer Street construction page which includes FAQs about mitigation, project background, timeline, and regular updates. Anyone can sign up to receive email updates or can contact the NYU Office of Community Engagement with questions or concerns.