The Real Deal New York

City Council committee approves NYU expansion plan — with modifications

July 17, 2012 03:30PM

From left: renderings of the proposed Mercer Street building and the zipper building

The City Council’s Committee on Land Use voted 19 to 1 to approve a further scaled-back version of New York University’s expansion plan today. Council Member Margaret Chin, who represents the Greenwich Village area, brokered a deal that further reduced the above-ground square-footage of the expansion plan by 17.4 percent. The university will reduce the height of the Mercer Street building to four stories from 11, and the so-called “zipper building” was also scaled back, eliminating a total of 212,000 square feet.

The reductions come on top of modifications the Department of City Planning secured last month. Combined they have shaved off 352,000 square feet, or 26 percent, of development originally proposed by NYU in January 2012, according to Chin.

Chin has been generally in favor of the plan, but had been pushing to scale it back. “Throughout this process,” she said in a statement, “I have maintained that it is possible to strike a balance that upholds the integrity of Greenwich Village and meets NYU’s immediate academic needs.”

The plan’s chief rival, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which this week filed for lobbyist status, issued a press release in opposition of the plan even with the modifications. Though the expansion plan must still win approval from the entire City Council in a July 25 vote, it acknowledged that the council was likely to follow suit with the Land Use Committee.

A group representing owners of businesses in the area surrounding NYU’s core campus that has favored a modified expansion for the school, the Villagers for a Sustainable Neighborhood, voiced its approval for the reduced height of the Mercer Street building but said it believes the zipper building is still too large. — Adam Fusfeld

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