GREENWICH VILLAGE — Revisions made to NYU's 20-year expansion plans would designate land within the NYU "superblock" as park space, the university announced Thursday.
NYU wants the Department of Transportation to turn over two 45-foot-wide, block-long plots of land on LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street, between Bleecker and West 3rd streets, to the Parks Department. The strips of land currently have playgrounds and gardens on them.
NYU's vice president of community engagement, Alicia Hurley, said the change indicates NYU's will to arrive at an NYU 2031 plan that will meet all residents' needs.
"What we are saying is, 'We agree with you, community. Let's have these [plots] open as mapped public space in the future," she said.
The most recent design for the superblock, released in May, had a faculty office building placed atop one of the two strips of land. The revised design, which NYU will soon file with the Department of City Planning, moves this building 15 feet west to preserve the green space.
NYU had initially proposed to take over the strips, which residents protested against.
Though the university has given up its attempt to buy the strips, it will seek rights to access and dig below them, according to its 2031 plan website.
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said in a statement that the revisions to NYU's plans are insignificant.
"The changes NYU has made are literally, as well as figuratively, nothing more than tinkering with the edges. Shifting one building 15 feet to the west does not solve the much bigger problems of this plan," Berman said.
Terri Cude, co-chair of the group Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031, said she wants the strips to be re-mapped as Parks Department, land but that NYU should not be granted rights to them.
"The public open space on the superblock should be kept as community open space, as it is now, with no acquisition by NYU, either on it or under it," she said. "It should be used by and kept for the community."
NYU also released the findings of a survey on city residents' approval of the expansion plans. According to a phone survey of 600 New York voters conducted by Global Strategy Group in April, 70 percent of people support NYU's plans to grow.
When supporters of NYU's growth were asked whether they would support expansion in Greenwich Village, support dropped to 34 percent.
NYU senior vice president Lynne Brown said the university will be responsive to community needs.
"There's no allergy to changing the plan … if both community and NYU needs can be met," she said. "We're members of the community as well."
The seven-month-long public review process for the project is expected to begin as early as November, Hurley said.
To proceed, the project would have to be approved by the community board, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the Department of City Planning and the City Council.