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Washington Square Village Residents Sue NYU for Development Plan

By Andrea Swalec | August 17, 2012 12:32pm | Updated on August 17, 2012 3:40pm

MANHATTAN — Tenants of the block that NYU will transform during 20 years of recently approved construction lashed out against the university Thursday, filing a lawsuit over the development's impact on private park space. 

Rent-stabilized residents of the four Washington Square Village residential towers on the block bordered by West 3rd Street, Mercer Street, Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place said NYU's plan to eliminate a two-acre park on the plot of land violates their rights. 

"[The] planned redevelopment in 'NYU Plan 2031' will irrevocably eliminate the private park grounds on the WSV apartment complex itself," the suit said. "[Any] redevelopment of the private park would result in the elimination of a 'required service' to the remaining rent-stabilized tenants at WSV." 

The tenants, who are using the name WSV Green Neighbors, said they represent residents of the remaining 350 rent-stabilized units in the 1,296-unit complex, which was built in 1958. 

NYU defended its plan in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

"NYU strongly disagrees with the lawsuit (WSV Green Neighbors v. NYU) and will vigorously defend its plan to create new academic facilities, student dormitories and faculty housing as approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council after a thorough and rigorous public review process," a spokesman said.

University representatives have previously said that the expansion plan, which will create three new buildings, will provide park space open to all. 

The City Council nearly unanimously approved NYU's controversial plan July 25. 

“I think this plan appropriately balances the need of an important university to grow and expand, which is good for our city, with the historic neighborhood it’s in,” Speaker Christine Quinn said.