New York University and the residents of Greenwich Village have been waging war for
hundreds of many, many years, but the battle may finally be coming to an end. Today, New York State's highest court of appeals ruled in favor of NYU, granting the university the right to proceed with the long-planned expansion. The Court of Appeals found that the land NYU wants to build on is not, as opponents argued, parkland, and therefore, the university can move forward with development without needing special approvals from the state. The anti-NYU crew argued that the since the land had been used as parkland for years, it was "implied parkland," but the court could find no evidence that the owners of the land, the city's Department of Transportation, were, according to DNAinfo, "'unmistakable in their purpose' to establish it as a permanent park.'" Instead, the land had been temporarily loaned (for several decades) to the Parks Department. The Court of Appeals was the last hope for NYU's opponents, so here come the new superblocks.
The three parcels of land in questionsLaGuardia Park, Mercer Playground, and LaGuardia Corner Gardensare all owned by the Department of Transportation, and operated by the Park's through the Greenstreets program. All of the leases between the DOT and Parks Department make clear that the land is only meant to be temporary parkland, so it doesn't really matter if the public had accepted it as "implied parkland," which is a real, legal thing.
The university can now move forward with its first building at 181 Mercer Street. When the masterplan was approved by City Council in 2012which, by the way, was the same year that NYU had at one point hoped to start constructionNYU agreed to build only one structure at a time, so as not to engulf the entire neighborhood in construction.
The expansion plans include several new buildings on NYU's two superblocks along Bleecker Street between Mercer Street and LaGuardia Place, as well as the creation of new parkland that will be official parkland. An exact timeline for the first building will be revealed in the coming weeks.
· NYU Expansion Project Clears Final Legal Hurdle and Will Proceed [DNAinfo]
· State High Court OKs NYU's $6 Billion Plan to Expand Even into Purported Parkland [NYDN]
· NYU Expansion Schedule, New Building Heights Revealed [Curbed]
· All NYU 2031 coverage [Curbed]