Stringer Shrinks NYU, But Is It Enough to Appease the Village NIMBYs?

proposed birds eye view looking northwest1 Stringer Shrinks NYU, But Is It Enough to Appease the Village NIMBYs?

Somewhat shrunken. (NYU)

Well, the gambit worked. NYU has won Borough President Scott Stringer’s support for its campus expansion in Greenwich Village, according to The Times, all for the price of 370,000 square feet. That is how much the university has agreed to reduce its 2 million-plus square foot expansion, which works out to 16 percent of the project.

None of the reductions will lead to the elimination of any buildings:

Instead of a 14-story building on the southern block of the parcel, N.Y.U. is to build a seven-story school. On the northern block, two boomerang-shape academic buildings, one with 14 stories and another with 8, are to be slimmed down and shortened by 85,000 square feet. A so-called zipper-shape dormitory and academic building where N.Y.U. now has its main gymnasium would be set farther back from Mercer Street.

“N.Y.U. must coexist with Greenwich Village and not overwhelm the neighborhood,” Mr. Stringer told The Times. “This strikes an important balance.” A spokeswoman declined to discuss the agreement with The Observer until an official announcement is made tomorrow.

“We’re glad to have the Borough President’s support,” John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, said in an email. “From the beginning, our focus has been to achieve an outcome that will meet the University’s academic space needs in a way that will keep NYU strong—and we’re comfortable we’re still well on that path—while addressing the concerns of our neighbors.”

At least some locals are not satisfied with the compromise. “It’s like giving a haircut to an 800 pound gorilla,” Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, told The Observer. “I’m a little surprised the borough president was will to sell his vote for so little.”

Mr. Berman said he held out hope for Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who has the decisive vote over the project, rather than Mr. Stringer’s advisory one. “I certainly think Councilmember Chin’s constituents expect a lot better from her than this deal,” he said.

During an interview today prior to the borough president’s announcement, Ms. Chin’s spokeswoman, Kelly Magee, said the community would be foremost in her considerations of a plan that has given the councilwoman some pause.

“The council member recognizes the University’s desire to expand, but we must ensure that this plan meets the University’s needs and the needs of the Greenwich Village community,” Ms. Magee said.

“NYU’s proposed expansion is our number one priority and the community’s concerns remain central to our discussions with the university.”

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC