LOWER MANHATTAN — The City Planning Commission's only public hearing on NYU's 20-year expansion plan Wednesday morning drew support from a usual competitor — the head of Columbia University.
At a well-attended public meeting held at the National Museum of the American Indian, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger urged the CPC to approve the plan, on the grounds that university expansions create middle-class jobs and help schools serve as intellectual and cultural hubs.
"Universities are an essential part of the creative spirit of New York," Bollinger said, according to the Real Deal. "A rich urban environment of colleges works to the benefit of all of us."
Bollinger's support was in direct opposition to comments from Greenwich Village's State Sen. Tom Duane, who spoke against the NYU 2031 plan.
"The plan is too big for the scale of the community," Duane said, urging the CPC to deny NYU's application until changes demanded by locals are made.
Duane dismissed the "modest" concessions Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer negotiated with NYU earlier this month — including reducing the size of the four planned buildings by nearly 20 percent, preserving strips of park land and eliminating a seven-story dormitory.
NYU's expansion on the two large blocks bordered by LaGuardia Place and Mercer, West Houston and West 3rd streets are a small part of the university's citywide growth plan, NYU president John Sexton said.
"We're doing everything we can to minimize what has to go into the core [campus]," he said.
But Community Board 2 chair Brad Hoylman said NYU 2031 will have too large an impact on the character and density of the Village.
CPC commissioner Angela Battaglia asked that CB2 assemble a "reasonable" compromise plan for additional modifications to the plan.
"I suspect more [concessions] will be made," she added.