The chorus of opposition to NYU’s expansion plan grows louder. (It’s not just the dogs and the neighbors anymore.) Forty-four different community leaders, politicians, preservationists and neighborhood groups have written a letter to Borough President Scott Stringer urging him to vote down the university’s ambitious, outsized project to build four new towers a few blocks south of Washington Square Park.
“We believe that the zoning changes, lifting of urban renewal deed restriction and taking of public open space requested by NYU is wrong in principle, and the developments which would follow from it would have a terribly detrimental impact,” the letter reads. “We believe that there are better alternatives to be consider by the University and the city.”
Borough President Stringer has until April 12 to vote for or against the project. The project—which will add as much as 2 million square feet to the neighborhood on two already dense superblocks—has been vociferously opposed by locals while the construction industry and educational community, as well as the mayor, have openly supported it.
The borough president’s vote will be especially important given next year’s mayoral election. A vote for wins favor from the real estate industry and the educational community, a vote against enhances his credentials as a booster for community planning and neighborhood issues. And with his chief rival Christine Quinn weighing in in a few months, Mr. Stringer is presented with an opportunity to differentiate himself from the pro-development City Council speaker.