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NYU Wants to Start Building New Towers in Two Years

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Despite not having been formally unveiled yet, NYU's crazy huge expansion plan is the worst-kept secret in the business, but here's a big lingering mystery: When will the school start adding some of that 6 million square feet of new space? Sooner than you think! Downtown Express got the complete rundown on the NYU 2031 plan, and reports that the university's first mission will be building on its two superblocks between Houston Street & West 3rd Street, and Mercer Street & LaGuardia Place (with the southern portion getting attention first). This includes the new 40-story "pinwheel tower" joining I.M. Pei's Silver Towers, the replacing of the Coles Gymnasium with the funky new "zipper building," and a pair of new buildings book-ending the Washington Square Village complex. NYU is hoping to start on the Coles site in 2012, after what promises to be a contentious approval process. The superblock proposals have all been openly discussed during the planning stages of NYU 2031, complete with renderings. The details may change, but here's a refresher.

Above is the zipper building at Houston and Mercer that would replaced the outdated Coles Gymnasium. It would step back in height from 14 to 17 stories and have retail on the ground floor, classrooms and student residences above and a underground gym.

The 40-story pinwheel tower that would join the trio of Silver Towers. It would be used for faculty housing, which makes for a nice recruiting tool.

This was the "Plinth and Tower" proposal for the makeover of Washington Square Village, which we're not quite sure is the design still in play. Here's how Downtown Express describes what NYU plans to do with the open space:

The new plan is for N.Y.U. to lower the open space in the middle of Washington Square Village to street level. Parking would be consolidated on the southern superblock, Hurley said. Meanwhile, the low-rise retail strip along LaGuardia Place — which, Brown noted, doesn’t get good business — will be demolished, and, as referred to above, retail uses will be consolidated in the “zipper building” on the southern superblock. N.Y.U. would build down to add space in the Washington Square Village courtyard, putting three or four stories belowground, for classrooms or possibly theaters, Hurley said. Aboveground, the complex’s courtyard would offer clear sightlines through from LaGuardia Place to Mercer St., and would be open to the public as a sort of “Rockefeller Center without ice skating,” Brown said.

Consider that a sneak preview of the Greenwich Village?pardon us, Core Campus?of the future, as long as the whole place isn't burned to the ground by angry locals.
· No fantasy island, N.Y.U.’s grand plan to build is beginning now [Downtown Express]
· NYU Expansion coverage [Curbed]