Coles Redevelopment: What to Expect During the Coming Months

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2015
To: THE NYU COMMUNITY
From: NYU Exec. Vice President for Operations Alison Leary and
Laurence Maslon, Arts Professor and Chair, Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee

The June ruling from the Court of Appeals—New York State’s highest court—cleared the way for NYU to move forward with the redevelopment of the Coles Sports and Recreation Center.

The new building will provide important, much-needed facilities for our campus community: additional new classrooms (in turn permitting us to continue converting space in the Silver Center into research laboratories); education, practice, and performance space for our performing arts programs; student housing, allowing us to shed costlier leased facilities; an up-to-date sports facility; and faculty housing.

Extensive planning has already been underway; this includes, as a first order of business, replacement facilities to meet the needs of those who currently use Coles for fitness and athletics.

We would like to update you on some of these planning efforts so that you (and your families, if that’s the case) will know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead and so that you can plan accordingly.

  • Most important, you should know that Coles will remain in operation through at least November 15, 2015, save for regularly scheduled maintenance days (including August 7 -15, 2015). The specific closure date for Coles has not yet been determined, but we are committed to keeping the facility open until adequate replacement facilities are made available. NYU is currently in the process of readying a new fitness center at 404 Lafayette Street that will include strength and cardio training, as well as recreation classes. The needs of student athletes and swimmers will be met at other NYU locations including the Palladium and through other arrangements, including at the Palladium and at nearby external venues. Sufficient advance notice of the closure of Coles, as well as information about replacement facilities, will be provided in the Fall semester.
  • Purchasing membership to Coles this Fall: Those wishing to purchase or renew memberships to Coles for the Fall semester will only be charged through November 15th. Should Coles remain open past that date, users will not be subject to any additional fees until the replacement facilities are up and running and a new pricing scheme goes into effect. Please visit the membership desk at Coles or Palladium for more information.
  • Site preparation activities: There are various necessary site preparation activities that will take place in and around Coles. These will begin in the coming weeks (see below) and will continue through the Fall. None of these activities is expected to affect the regular availability of the Coles facility and they DO NOT signify the immediate start of construction on the replacement building to be located on the Coles site. Click the links below for more information.
    • Exploratory Borings: From August 10-14—during the week when Coles is closed for annual maintenance—exploratory borings will be conducted in and around the building. These borings will allow the architects and engineers to gain critical sub-surface information that will inform the design of the new building’s foundation. Interior, pre-boring preparatory work is scheduled from August 7 through August 9.
    • Dog Run Relocation/Rocket Ship Park Availability: NYU will relocate the existing Mercer Houston Dog Run from its current site (the Northwest corner of Mercer Street and Houston Street) to the site of the current Rocket Ship Park (along the Northern side of Houston Street, just West of Coles). Other playgrounds on the superblocks, including the Key Park in Washington Square Village, will remain available.
  • Redevelopment building planning and design: The architects for the Coles Project (Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake) have just completed a semester-long process of meeting with the building’s end users, various deans and faculty members, University leadership, and the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee to determine specific space needs and priorities. The architects presented their preliminary findings to the Committee in July; their observations build on and closely parallel the priority recommendations issued by the University Space Priorities Working Group in 2014. The Committee anticipates a more formal presentation of the project concept and potential design schematics by the architects by the end of 2015.

The Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee has provided input to the University on the planning of and construction mitigation efforts associated with the Coles Redevelopment project, and will continue to do so going forward. The Committee also expects to make broad recommendations to the University in the fall about the use of open space that will help clarify and hopefully improve the quality of life on the superblocks.

We are committed to keeping our NYU community and residents informed about the project schedule in a timely manner, as we know these activities affect our daily lives as well as our planning for the future. You can expect to receive more detailed information about the alternatives put in place to meet fitness and athletic needs during construction, early in the Fall semester. Please visit the Coles Redevelopment website for more information.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of the summer.