NYU wants to build campus on Governors Island

By Catherine Contiguglia | January 30, 2008 05:27PM

After years of speculation and debate, New York University has finally announced its intentions to build a campus of up to 1 million square feet on Governors Island.

The university had often hinted at its interest in the island, but had never confirmed any intention to build there until it unveiled details of its 25-year, six-million-square-foot expansion plans to the press today.

Although the university has not yet released any renderings of a Governors Island campus, university officials said the campus would include both academic and residential buildings, as well as athletic facilities.

“We’re trying to determine what would be something we could put out there,” said William Haas, the director of planning at NYU.

Lynne Brown, NYU’s senior vice president for university relations and public affairs, said the university had been approached by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, the city and state agency known as GIPEC, and began a serious discussion last May. The agency also talked to several other institutions, and Brown said it would not issue a formal request for proposals until this summer at the earliest.

Brown said that while developing the island would present some difficulties with infrastructure and transportation, its potential was worth the extra planning.

“It’s a tremendous asset,” Brown said.

Cathy Simon, an SMWM architect working with NYU on its expansion plans, said the island’s natural beauty and versatility made it an ideal site.

“I think it would be a perfect setting for an academic institution,” Simon said.

NYU plans to discuss its expansion plans, which also include possible sites in Brooklyn, at an open house for students and the Greenwich Village community. Earlier today, it announced at a press conference with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer that it would work with the community to limit the impact of the expansion of its main Washington Square campus.