Revised NYU Plans Face Strong Public Opposition
Last night NYU presented a revised version of their massive 20-year expansion plans to a standing room-only crowd. Hundreds showed up, many wearing stickers from GVSHP saying "NO to the NYU 2031 Plan" (see pictures HERE).
NYU's made few substantive changes to their plan, which still includes up to 2.2 mil. sq. feet of space (the equivalent of the Empire State Building) on the blocks south of Washington Square Park, 3 mil. sq. ft. of space total in Greenwich Village and environs (doubling their current rate of growth), the takeover of public open space, elimination of open space preservation zoning requirements, lifting of urban renewal deed restrictions, and the insertion of four massive buildings into the Silver Towers and Washington Square Village complexes (view images and details of their plan HERE and HERE).
NYU stated that this was the final version of their plan, upon which they expected to begin environmental review in April, and to start the actual public hearing and approval process for the plan in 2012.
At last night's hearing, NYU refused to provide answers to questions GVSHP and many other community groups have long raised about their plans: Why do any of the facilities need to be located in the Village, as opposed to other locations? Why won't they reduce the overwhelming amount of bulk they are proposing for the area? And why are they not considering locations like the Financial District where their development has been welcomed by community leaders and would be contextual?
NYU also confirmed that they have broken yet another commitment they had previously made, which was that their offer to build out a public school for the City was NOT dependent upon approval of their massive expansion plan; NYU now says their promise of a school IS dependent upon their massive expansion plans being approved.
GVSHP continues to press NYU to justify the need for siting its expanded facilities in oversaturated parts of the Village and to consider viable alternatives we have long proposed like the Financial District.
NYU's plans can NOT move ahead unless they are approved by the City Council and the City Planning Commission, a body consisting of appointees of the Mayor, the Borough Presidents, and the Public Advocate.
GVSHP will keep you updated as to the next steps in the process for this plan.