Dear NYU Expansion Critics: ‘Move to Sioux City!’

Columbia just made an announcement that it won’t use eminent domain in its own expansion. Will NYU use eminent domain as you expand?

It’s not a question we’ve asked or answered.… I’m not ruling it out because there may be some context we’re not envisioning.

One of your plans is to own more property instead of leasing property. Why do you want to own?

[Leasing space] is a bad situation. We’re losing a lot of money because landlords rent to us and we rent to the students at less than [the landlords] rent to us. This is a stupid business model.

Why should New Yorkers believe that they’ll be O.K. with everything that NYU will build?

I’m not asking people to make an act of faith in me. I want to pick up on one thing you said. PlanNYC already posits that New York City is going to have a growth of its population of one million people over the next 25 years. If there are people out there that don’t want to address that reality, then those people are asking the city to begin its own demise.

If people say, “Don’t build another building, don’t penetrate the verticality of the city anymore,” they’re living in some world where they want to put a cap on this city, which is going to be a death warrant for the city. It’s especially inscrutable and difficult to understand that they would want to make the cap more stringent on higher education and the great universities.

This town is blessed to have at least two of the top 25 universities in the world; at least two. That is a great asset. If you cap the capacity of those two universities to stay in the top 25 in the world, you’re making a stupid decision for this city. My answer to people who want to cap or severely restrict the capacity of NYU or Columbia is that you’re just missing the essence of what will be the future of this city.

Maybe you should move to Sioux City, where you don’t have to confront growth.