The City Planning Commission voted 12-1 this morning in favor of approving NYU 2031, the school's ambitious Greenwich Village expansion plan. The vote was preceded by an explanation by CPC Chair Amanda Burden of what they were voting for, which was a plan with some changes from NYU's initial zoning-change wishlist. Some of the highlighted changes in the CPC-approved plan include:
· Reduction of the height and massing of buildings in the northern block; elimination of the hotel and reduction of the size of the buildings on Mercer in the southern block.
· The creation of an oversite committee to safeguard and maximize the accessibility of public spaces .
· Eliminating the proposed below-grade academic space beneath the park land strips on the north superblock.
· No commercial overlay for the loft block east of Washington Square.
·No temporary gym on Mercer to replace the Coles Athletic Center.
While the vote was almost unanimous, not all the commissioners had nice things to say about the NYU 2031 plan they were approving. Commissioner Anna Hayes Levin said she thought that NYU leaders were terrible stewards of their public space and didn't think that the school officials knew exactly what they wanted to do with all the buildings they were asking for. "We need it because we want it," was the impression Levin received from NYU. Although she thought that the proposed changes did not go far enough in reducing the sizes of NYU 2031's building plans, Levin voted yes to approve because there were already enough votes to assure approval anyway.
Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, seemed a little disappointed but not surprised at the commission's approval, characterizing the CPC as a rubber stamp for Mayor Bloomberg, who has expressed his support for NYU's expansion.
NYU's expansion plan now moves to the City Council, which has 60 days to hold hearings before its vote.
· NYU 2031 coverage [Curbed]
· With Few Changes NYU Expansion Passes Planning [A/N]
· Op-Ed Challenging NYU’s Expansion Plans [GVSHP]