Borough President Weighs In, NYU Modifies Application
April 13th, 2012, 4:30 pm
After the NYU proposal was heavily criticized by Community Board Two, it was the Borough President’s turn in the ULURP process to opine on its plan to add 2.4 million square feet of new development to two superblocks just southeast of Washington Square Park. In response to the concerns he raised NYU has agreed to modify its proposal to make a number of significant changes, the details of his position can be found here. Many of these changes are in line with MAS’s position and represent significant improvements to the project. In particular, NYU is reducing the height of two of the buildings to better reflect the height of the buildings in the surrounding area, reducing the amount of overall density and below grade space, and better protecting existing open spaces. Nonetheless, there is more work to be done to ensure that NYU’s project meets its needs for additional academic space while respecting the neighborhood that has been an important part of its success. The proposed Zipper building, especially the building segment along Houston and Mercer which rises almost 300 feet sheer from the street, remains out of context and would create a dark and uninviting corridor along Mercer Street. NYU also needs to continue to refine the site plan on the northern block to help improve circulation throughout the site and should develop a process for seeking community input to create a new open space that is welcoming and usable for all members of the public. The next critical milestone will be the City Planning Commission public hearing on April 25th, 2012 @ 10AM in the Museum of the American Indian (map). MAS will be at the hearing as we continue to raise these important concerns and to make sure that this project serves the interest of NYU, Greenwich Village, and New York City as a whole.