Academic institutions critical to Village’s economy: NYU-commissioned study

May 17, 2011 02:12PM

From left: Lynne Brown, senior vice president of NYU, NYU’s expansion rendering and Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

New York University wants to prove it’s so valuable to Greenwich Village, that its expansion within the neighborhood will benefit everyone. The university commissioned a study by Appleseed, an independent New York-based economic research and analysis firm, that found academic institutions in Greenwich Village employ 10,350 people and dole out $611 million in annual payroll.

Moreover, between March 2010 and March 2011 the city’s private colleges and universities created 6,000 new jobs even as employment decreased across the city. That’s particularly good news for Village residents, as 17 percent of those with jobs work in education, health care or social services in New York City, according to the report. “While it is obvious that NYU and other academic institutions are important contributors to Greenwich Village’s economic well-being, this report documents just how significant they are,” said Lynne Brown, a senior vice president at NYU.

NYU also noted that the visitors the university attracts — including the 51,286 prospective students, who, along with their families, visited for information sessions and tours during normal business hours last year — pump even more money into local businesses. While William Kelley, executive director of the Village’s business improvement district, said he looked forward to NYU’s expansion within the area because students are a boon to local economies, Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation and one of the most outspoken critics of NYU’s expansion plans, said that the current financial benefits don’t necessitate further expansion.

“Of course NYU contributes to the economy of the Village and New York City,” he said. “But the real question now is, should NYU’s massive proposed expansion be focused on a neighborhood like the Village which would be overwhelmed and fundamentally changed by it, or would it be wiser for the long-term health of the city to look at the Financial District, which can absorb that kind of massive growth and would benefit much more from the additional people, space, and activity it would generate.” TRD