The Real Deal New York

NYU will push ahead with Zipper Building, despite ruling

But community groups say they'll sue to block any construction

January 09, 2014 02:56PM

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From left: NYU's president John Sexton, NYU's "Zipper Building" rendering

From left: NYU’s president John Sexton, NYU’s “Zipper Building” rendering

Neighborhood groups aiming to curb New York University’s expansion in Greenwich Village are threatening to sue should the school continue any part of its plan, following Tuesday’s ruling.

The threat comes after NYU’s original $6 billion expansion plans were blocked by state Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills because they would raze three city parks, including Mercer Playground and LaGuardia Park.

NYU was left with two options: scale back the expansion so as to not to interfere with parkland, or bring the project to the state legislature for approval.

But the school’s latest strategy is to pursue the towers that are being called the Zipper Building, which will replace an existing gym and displace a dog run, according to Bloomberg News. NYU spokesperson John Beckman told Bloomberg the construction would not violate Mill’s orders, since she did not consider the dog run to be a public park and the gym already belongs to the university.

Community groups disagree, however, saying NYU must now re-submit all plans involved with the expansion.

“There simply is not any wiggle room to go forward with a fundamentally different project under the guise of being a piece of a comprehensive project that has been enjoined,” Randy Mastro, an attorney representing groups who sued to block the expansion, told Bloomberg News. “We would go back to the judge about that if NYU were actually to pursue that course.”

In 2012, NYU was forced to reduced the project by 20 percent and the Zipper Building was set further back to let more light in for neighbors. [Bloomberg News] – Angela Hunt

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