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NYU Confuses Preservationists With Plan for Smaller Building

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Things are out of balance in the Village, where NYU is planning its Center for Academic and Spiritual Life at 58 Washington Square South. Perfect, because spiritual centers are all about restoring balance, right? Wrong! This one comes with a preservation controversy. The as-of-right zoning for the Washington Square South spot would allow NYU to build an 11-story building, but the ever-expansion-hungry NYU really wants to build something...smaller? Yup! The university has proposed a shorter, squatter design of only six stories, and the folks at the Greenwich VIllage Society for Historic Preservation aren't quite sure how to take the fact that their world is now completely upside-down. In its most recent newsletter, GVSHP tries to find the negative: "While the as-of-right building (without variances) would require multiple setbacks and be much taller and narrower, by seeking permission for no setbacks whatsoever NYU would place a large, squat building on narrow Thompson and West 3rd Streets which would shadow neighboring buildings...and loom over these low-scale streets." And if NYU's desire to slim down continues unchecked, what's next for its expansion plans?
· NYU Seeks Variance for New "Spiritual Center" Development [GVSHP]
· NYU's God-Fearing Washington Square South Plan Revealed [Curbed]