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NYU to Scale Back Greenwich Village Expansion Plans

By Andrea Swalec | April 10, 2012 7:53pm
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer worked with NYU to reduce the scale of its proposed expansion.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer worked with NYU to reduce the scale of its proposed expansion.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MANHATTAN — New York University has agreed to reduce the scale of its proposed 20-year expansion plan in Greenwich Village, days before the latest deadline in the city review process.

NYU has agreed to cut the size of the four planned buildings by more than 16 percent, according to information published Tuesday night by The New York Times.

An agreement reached with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer before the Thursday due date for his advisory vote will cut the total additional square footage by 370,00 square feet, out of a total of 2,275,000 square feet, the Times reported.

A Stringer spokeswoman confirmed that Stringer will recommend that the city approve NYU's plans with modifications but refused to confirm the published details.

NYU spokesman John Beckman praised Stringer's support for the university.

"From the beginning, our focus has been to achieve an outcome that will meet the university's academic space needs in a way that will keep NYU strong … while addressing the concerns of our neighbors," Beckman said in a statement.

Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, likened the modifications to "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."

"A slight decrease in the size of a few buildings does not change the fact that this massive plan is fundamentally wrong for the Village, wrong for New York City, and wrong for NYU," he said.

"It’s unfortunate that [Stringer] was willing to give away his vote and get so little in exchange for it,” he added.

The modifications for two large blocks bordered by LaGuardia Place and Mercer, West Houston and West 3rd streets call for a seven-story school instead of a 14-story building on the southern block, the Times wrote.

The "boomerang" buildings designed to be 14 stories and eight stories tall will be narrowed and reduced in height. The gym and dorm buildings that are part of the NYU 2031 plan will be set further away from Mercer Street, the article said.

Community Board 2 unanimously rejected the plan on Feb. 23, noting that it would harm the quality of life in the neighborhood and urging the city to reject it.