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NYU Reveals Latest Expansion Plan

By Amy Zimmer | March 16, 2011 7:52pm | Updated on March 17, 2011 7:31am

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — New York University unveiled its latest expansion plans on Wednesday, proposing to build up to 2 million square feet over the next three decades around its Washington Square campus.

It would build on "superblock" sites of residential towers it already uses for faculty housing, stretching from West 3rd and Houston streets to LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street.

This version of the proposal omitted previous plans that would have added a 400-foot tower at a landmarked Houston Street complex known as Silver Towers, which were designed by famed architect I.M. Pei.

The university, which has long battled with locals over its growth plans, said it would be building within the neighborhood's zoning regulations — with nothing higher than Silver Towers — and would not need to invoke eminent domain.

"The decision, while representing the most responsible way to proceed, comes with trade-offs: these blocks are home to the University's faculty," the university said on its website, "and NYU realizes that the plan will place a short-term burden on its own community."

But school officials said it was in the best interest for the public and the school, since it will concentrate academic and residential space at the campus's "core."

The revised plan still had its critics.

"It's more of the same from the university which has overbuilt, oversaturated, and overdeveloped in this neighborhood for decades," said Andrew Berman
, executive director of the 
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Berman said a better plan would be to "channel this massive growth" to places like the Financial District where it could "provide the 24-hour-a-day activity and mixed-use presence that neighborhood needs and is seeking."

NYU plans to present its changed plans to the public next week and expects to begin the public approval process in May.