After two weeks of negotiations between the New York City Council and NYU, the Council Land Use Committee and Subcommittee on Zoning voted today to approve the modified version of NYU’s 2031 plan. The plan will move before the full Council on June 25th for a final vote to give the univeristy the go-ahead to begin constuction in Greenwich Village.
The nine member Zoning Subcomitee voted unanimously to approve the plan, while Land Use approved it 19-to-1.
Though many expressed reservations, Council member Charles Barron cast the single “nay” vote, arguing that NYU’s development plan and the opinion of Greenwich Village’s Community Board 2 are “diametrically opposed.”
While Barron said that his fellow council members would regret their votes, his colleagues seemed more hopeful. Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the neighborhoods in which the expansion will take place, said that the modified plan “will not overwhelm the community,” and that it is an appropriate balance between the integrity of Greenwich Village and the needs of NYU.
Changes to the development plan include a 20 percent overall reduction of expansion, bringing the gross square footage from 2,130,000 to 1,918,000. This cutback will be concentrated in two locations: on the northern section of the Zipper Building, the bulk of which has been shifted from the corner of Mercer and Bleecker streets towards Houston, and at the Mercer street Boomerang building, which has been reduced in height from eleven-stories to a squat four.
Additional modifications include increased open space, more community-dedicated spaces, financial commitments towards these spaces, and the creation of open space and construction oversight committees to help ensure that NYU follows up on its promises.
As expected, Greenwich Village community activists were present to express their dissatisfaction with the approval of the modified plan. Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation stated that the modified plan was “hardly a compromise,” and that the proposed expansion was still “grossly over-sized.”
While it now looks as if NYU will surely get the go-ahead at the vote next Wednesday, council member Vincent Ignizio reminded those in attendance that the challenges that face NYU and Greenwich Village are far from over. Speaking directly to the representative of the Univeristy, Ignizio stated that “now the real work begins for the community and for you, NYU. This community clearly has an issue with you, and now is your opportunity to begin a new day, wipe the slate clean and say we are going to be responsive to them.”
For additional information on the NYU 2031 plan, click here.