Stringer’s input was focused on NYU’s proposal for its Washington Square campus, which envisions four new buildings there, three of which will replace existing buildings. The new structures – to take up approximately 2 million square feet of space – will enable the university to accommodate future growth and provide vital academic and laboratory space, as well as space for new faculty and academic residences. The new buildings will encompass the “zipper” building, on the eastern side of the southern superblock along Mercer Street; the Bleecker building, at the northwest corner of the southern superblock; the LaGuardia building, along the west side of the northern superblock; and the Mercer building, along the east side of the northern superblock.
“This is a recognition that universities need to grow to maintain excellence, and that strong universities are important to keeping our city strong,” said NYU President John Sexton in reference to the Borough President’s approval. “We understand that the public review process involves many stakeholders, and we look forward to working with the City Planning Commission and the City Council to secure their support in the coming months.”
In order to obtain Stringer’s approval and satisfy community concerns, New York University agreed to a number of modifications in its original expansion proposal for the Greenwich Village area. These include a significant overall density reduction; designation and preservation of public strips as parkland; elimination of a temporary gymnasium on the site of two community playgrounds; elimination of proposed dormitories on the Bleecker Building; and an affirmation of NYU’s commitment to provide space for a K-8 school.
“NYU’s growth strategy will enable its students to continue to achieve academic excellence and provide additional research opportunities for its faculty,” commented Philip Lentz, the university’s Director of Public Affairs. “Currently, the university’s square-footage-per-student is half that of its peer universities. Our expansion plan will enable New York University to continue to compete with other major research universities and provide the academic experience its students deserve.” According to Lentz, the university feels that its agreement with the Manhattan Borough President is a fair one. “The agreement balances NYU’s need to find long-term academic space for its students and faculty with the concerns of our neighbors in the surrounding community,” he stated.
In commenting on the expansion plan, Stringer cited the substantial economic benefits of NYU’s growth for New York City. “The proposed campus expansion plan promises to grow the Institutional, Cultural and Educational economy (ICE) with the creation of 9,500 permanent jobs,” he noted, “and as many as 18,200 new construction jobs over the next 20 years.”