NYU withdraws application for controversial fourth tower, opponents not satisfied

November 18, 2010 03:55PM

From left: NYU’s Lynne Brown, a rendering of NYU’s proposed tower and GVSHP’s Andrew Berman

New York University withdrew its controversial application for a proposed fourth tower on Bleecker Street, the school announced today. Now, the university will begin work on its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application, seeking approvals to build on the site currently occupied by the Morton Williams supermarket, on the blocks near Washington Square Park that are already owned by the University.

“From the beginning, we sought a design for the Silver Towers block that was most respectful of [architect I.M.] Pei’s vision,” said Lynne Brown, NYU’s senior vice president. “Mr. Pei has now had a change of heart. The clarity Mr. Pei has now provided — that the Morton Williams site is ‘preferable’ — is helpful to us in understanding how to proceed with our ULURP proposal.”

Greenwich Village activists, who had been against the proposal from the outset, viewed the application withdrawal as only a partial victory.

“I am deeply gratified that in the face of overwhelming opposition, NYU has chosen to withdraw its plans for landmarks approval for a 400-foot tall tower in the Silver Towers complex,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “However, NYU’s insistence on moving ahead with seeking public approvals for its alternative… as well as the remainder of its massive NYU 2031 expansion plan to add two million square feet of space around Washington Square Park, shows that the university still does not get it.”

Berman feels that NYU should be looking to expand in places like the Financial District, and not in a residential area like the Village. “We will continue to strongly oppose NYU’s massive overdevelopment plans in our neighborhood,” he added. TRD