NYU Expansion Plans: Greenwich Village Residents Spared from Huge Development Plans... For Now

Published on Mar 9, 2012

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Opponents of the NYU expansion plans have won round one. To Greenwich Village residents: the neighborhood as you know it (and, one hopes, love it) appears NOT to be heading toward complete takeover by New York University's monstrous, multiple-building, two-MILLION-square-feet construction project, at least for the moment.

That's the take-away from last week's Community Board 2's unanimous, vehement rejection of the latest version of NYU 2031, the University's aggressive expansion plan that would add two new mixed-use skyscrapers right near Washington Square Park, as well as a hotel, a new gym, and numerous other facilities.

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Community Board 2 opponents of the NYU expansion plans--that is to say, the entire CB2--say that such unfettered expansion would, in the words of the resolution, "forever change the character of this historic neighborhood, [and] dramatically increase built-upon land at the expense of the light, air and recreation opportunities of existing open space."

For current residents of Greenwich Village apartments, the long-term implications of such monumental development are clear, and would no question alter the look and feel of the vibrant, beloved community. But there are short-term considerations as well, for those of you living in downtown rental apartments in the immediate area: two-million square feet of new construction would mean a LOT of construction sites in what is a very residential, intimate-feeling neighborhood.

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That said, Greenwich Village apartment residents aren't in the clear yet, not by a long shot. The CB2 resolution is just the first step that NYU had to take in order to get city approval for their vision. A loud, unanimous "no" is likely to be heard by and may possibly give pause to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who weighs in with an "advisory vote" on the current plan next, as well as members of the City Planning Commission and City Council, who are further down the line after that.

But NYU itself isn't backing down or revising their blueprints at this point. Alicia Hurley, NYU's vice president for government affairs and community engagement said, “the university will review the resolution that Community Board 2 has put forth, but looking beyond tonight’s vote, we look forward to continuing the discussion with the broader community and the city about our academic needs.” Clearly the story of NYU's expansion plans is far from over.

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