State appeals court greenlights NYU expansion

Neighborhood preservationists say the plan uses designated public parkland

Rendering of NYU's proposed expansion and NYU president John Sexton
Rendering of NYU's proposed expansion and NYU president John Sexton

The New York State Court of Appeals gave a thumbs up Tuesday to New York University’s campus expansion plans, which will expand the school by about 2 million square feet in Greenwich Village.

Neighborhood activists sued to prevent the expansion, claiming that it used land that was permanently designated for public park use, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A lower court initially ruled last year that parts of the plan would require legislative approval because of the parkland issue, but the Appellate Division court reversed that decision, and the Court of Appeals today agreed “that a portion of the public may have believed that these parcels are permanent parkland does not warrant a contrary result.”

The plan will create new high rises on two blocks between West Third and Houston Streets and La Guardia Place and Mercer Street.

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NYU expressed its pleasure at the decision. “We look forward to moving ahead with the project, which is vital to meeting NYU’s pressing academic space needs,” school spokesperson John Beckman said.

Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said, “We are deeply disappointed, not only because of the effect this will have in terms of greenlighting NYU’s massive expansion plan, but also in terms of undermining the protection of public park land.”

Earlier this month, NYU representatives expressed optimism that the Court of Appeals would rule in their favor. [WSJ] — Tess Hofmann