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Update on Massive NYU 2031 Expansion Plans

While NYU will not hold its official public unveiling of its ‘2031’ expansion plan until April 14, details of the plan have begun to leak out and community groups and elected officials have already begun to respond.

NYU Plans Leak Out — Last week a New York Times story revealed that NYU’s 2031 plan would include the addition of roughly 3 million square feet of space in or near the Village over the next twenty years, or a rate of 150,000 sq. ft. of new space per year. Over the last forty years, NYU’s enormous rate of growth in the Village has been roughly 80,000 sq. ft. per year. Thus the NYU 2031 plan would result in NYU roughly doubling its rate of growth in our neighborhoods over the next two decades. The 3 million sq. ft. of space NYU proposes to add is the equivalent of seventeen more of their recently completed 26-storydorm on East 12th Street (now the tallest building in the EastVillage), or four and a half times the size of the Jacob Javits ConventionCenter (learn more HERE).

See coverage in the New York Times, the Associated PressABC News, and Gothamist.

Task Force Report and NYU School Offer Announcement — Yesterday, after more than three years of meetings, the Community Task Force on NYU Development released a report with recommendations to NYU regarding their 2031 plan (read it HERE). GVSHP is a member of the Task Force, convened by Borough President Stringer, along with many other community groups in the Village and elsewhere. The Task Force report made several strong recommendations to NYU, including:

  • NYU should first seek to locate new facilities in satellite locations OUTSIDE of the Village and surrounding area

  • NYU must demonstrate why new facilities need to be located in the already-oversaturated Village

  • NYU should respect and maintain the low-scale, moderate density, historic character of our neighborhoods

  • The addition of 3 million square feet of space in the Village by NYU would be overwhelming

  • Plans NYU has previously shown to shoehorn massive new development into the protected open space on the “superblocks” located south of Washington Square Park are totally unacceptable

  • NYU should support and respect the South Village Historic District as proposed by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and nearly-universally supported in the community; the university should refraining from demolition, new construction and alterations until the area is designated and subject to the landmarks regulation process

  • NYU must consider additional areas for potential satellite locations, including the Financial District and Long Island City, and should examine the scores of stalled and abandoned construction projects throughout the city to potentially address some of their facility needs while also eliminating these blights from neighborhoods

Much of NYU’s 2031 plan appears to directly contradict these recommendations. Read GVSHP’s statement on the release of the recommendations HERE, and read the statements of Borough President Stringer and various elected officials involved in the Task Force HERE.

NYU used the occasion to announce that they would provide space within one of their existing facilities to the city for a public elementary school (what if anything the city would pay for the space was not clear), and that providing the space was not contingent upon approval of any of their other plans.  Forty years ago when NYU was given control of what is now the Silver Towers superblock they had made a similar commitment to provide a public elementary school, but that commitment was never kept.

See coverage on NY1 News.

Public Unveiling and How To Help — NYU will hold an Open House to unveil details on their 2031 plan on Wednesday, April 14 from 5:30 to 8pm at their Kimmel Center, Washington Square South and LaGuardia Place, 10th floor. GVSHP strongly urges you to attend to find out more and to let your thoughts or concerns be known about the plan.

It should also be noted that virtually all of NYU’s development plans in the Village and surrounding area cannot proceed without public approvals by entities including the City Council, the City Planning Commission, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Borough President. Most would require lifting existing zoning restrictions. This gives the public an opportunity to have an impact upon any of NYU’s plans and a say in whether or not they should be approved. GVSHP will provide more information — about how best to have your voice heard on April 14th, what information is revealed at the Open House, and how you can be involved in any public approval processes which stem from the NYU 2031 plan.

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