Historic Preservation Ruling Could Impact NYU’s Expansion Plans
Some exciting news — the NY State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has ruled that entire Washington Square Village (WSV) complex, including its gardens, qualify for the State and National Register of Historic Places — read the ruling HERE. NYU is seeking to build 2.4 million square feet of space in WSV and the neighboring Silver Towers complex as part of its 20-year expansion plan.
However, the SHPO ruling may impact those plans, as NYU is planning to use State Dormitory Authority funds for these developments. Now that WSV is eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places (SNR), no state or federal money can be spent on any construction or demolition there unless it is reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office. While the outcome of the review cannot be known until it takes place, the SHPO will generally seek to preserve the historically and architecturally significant features of SNR-eligible properties, and encourage the applicant to seek alternatives if they find the plans would negatively impact those features. GVSHP continues to urge that the university instead consider locations like the Financial District for its planned expansion.
Read more about it in the Villager, DNAinfo, and Crain’s NY.
NYU is seeking to build two giant curving towers in the middle of the WSV complex over the gardens the SHPO have just ruled SNR-eligible. Nearly all of NYU’s development plans in WSV and the Silver Towers superblocks also require large-scale zoning changes needing the approval of the City Planning Commission and the City Council. While the SHPO ruling by no means guarantees that NYU’s plans cannot go forward or will be changed, it does give us greater leverage, and adds to the argument that NYU should be looking to other more appropriate locations for its massive planned expansion.
In 2008 GVSHP was able to help secure landmark designation for Silver Towers, and in 2009 we were able to get the complex ruled eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places. That has already had an impact on NYU’s plans, as in late 2010, facing overwhelming opposition, NYU dropped plans to seek to add a 40-story tower to the complex, which would have required both NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission approval and State Historic Preservation Office review.
Click HERE for more information on NYU’s expansion plans and GVSHP’s efforts to address them.