Purple People Eaten: NYU Reduces Greenwich Village Campus 20 Percent

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Update (1:46):The zoning subcommittee passed the modified proposal unanimously, while the full land-use committee supported it by a vote of 19-1, with Councilman Charles Barron the lone no-vote.

The land-use committee meeting is still going on, with a vote due at some point this afternoon, but NYU has just revealed their deal with the City Council and local rep Margaret Chin to reduce the size of its expanded campus on the two superblocks south of Washington Square park. The project will be downsized 20 percent overall, with a 26 percent reduction in above ground space.

The bulk of this is coming from the boomerang shaped building on the north block along Mercer Street, which is shrinking from 11 stories to 4 stories. Its foundation, or footprint, will shrink, along with the neighboring boomerang building on LaGuardia Place, to provide more open space between the towers. The former shrinks overall by about 74 percent while the latter shrinks 28 percent.

Meanwhile the so-called Zipper Building on the southern block has been reduced in size nearly 9 percent, abed the mass if the building has been shifted south, so it now looks more like a mountain range rising to the south. This is meant to move the bulk away from residential buildings across the street.

The school has also agreed that if a fourth building set aside for a school is not used for such by the university, a portion of it will be used to create a community center. A public atrium will be built inside the zipper building, and a corner of an existing apartment building on the first block will be dedicated to community space.

A special committee is also being created to oversee the design and maintenance of open space separate from the university.

“At last month’s public hearing, I made it clear that I did not support NYU’s expansion proposal as modified by the City Planning Commission,” Councilwoman Chin said.

“To be perfectly honest,” she continued, “no one got everything they wanted. This was a comprise, but it was arrived at rationally and in good faith.”

Councilman Leroy Comrie, chair of the committee, called it “a herculean effort.” But outspoken Councilman Charles Barron challenged his colleagues to vote no. “We should send them back to the drawing board and make them listen to the community on this.”

Applause is forbidden, but this line got it. Otherwise it has been all jazz hands and thumbs down from the two dozen or so project opponents in the room. No sign of Matthew Broderick.