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NYU's Greenwich Village Superblock Plans Officially Unveiled

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Yesterday came and went without the promised reveal of NYU's revised plan for its Greenwich Village superblocks, but the university made up for it today, with the online unveiling of what's in store for the two superblocks within NYU's "core" campus. We headed to the press preview, where grim black and white photos of the current site were contrasted with the new renderings for extra emphasis, to get some more deets. The current plan is for work on the southern superblock to start in 2012 and wrap up in 2021, when work on the northern superblock would begin, to finish in 2031. But first, the university has to bring its latest proposal through the gauntlet of the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, with the first official public hearing likely for May. Villagers, while you're sharpening your pitchforks, take a gander at the new superblock layout and renderings above, then read on for the explanation.
When NYU's hopes of a 40-story hotel/residence hall were dashed, the university quickly transferred its affections to the as-of-right Morton Williams supermarket site on the corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place. But what to do with it? Question answered! The first seven floors of the building will be a public school, topped by seven more stories of NYU dorms. A way to guilt the NYU kids into good behavior and give parents easy access to the babysitter pool! Win-win?

Still, the contents of that 40-story hotel/residential tower haven't disappeared. They're being moved to the corner of Mercer and Houston streets, site of the university's current Coles Sports Center, as part of the future zipper building. (The site map calls for the current dog run and playground to be moved.) The highest zipper tower?the building consists of a series of towers on a four- or five-story base?will be capped at what NYU calls 27 stories and this afternoon's Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation e-mail blast calls 30 stories. Floor numbers aside, NYU says it intends the building to be no taller than Silver Towers. Of course, its actual construction depends on some public strips of land NYU has yet to nab. If the university doesn't get them, the plans will have to be redrawn.

As for the northern superblock, the "boomerang buildings"?14 and eight stories high?are still part of the proposal, but their surroundings have changed a bit (nice knowin' ya, Light Garden!). The renderings from the team at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates call for the entire Washington Square Village block to be brought to grade and for the Light Garden to become the Philosophy Garden. In other words, what will sit there will be less mountainous and more "conducive to conversation." This might be the site for our test: can an NYU administrator and a Village native actually sit down for a cordial chat?

Team NYU stresses that the buildings haven't been fully "architected" yet, but that the current renderings and models exist to give the city and community an idea of how the structures could look. And so the suggestion box is open...now.
· Official site: NYU 2031 [NYU]
· NYU 2031 coverage [Curbed]