NYU to Take Another Shave on Last Lap of ULURP Process

East
Friday, June 29, 2012
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NYU's plan encompasses two superblocks south of Washington Square (Courtesy NYU)

NYU's plan encompasses two superblocks south of Washington Square (Courtesy NYU)

The Zoning Committee of the New York City Council is holding a hearing today for NYU’s proposed expansion. It is the last stop on the ULURP tour that has garnered some of the most contentious debate in a neighborhood that has seen more than its share of zoning upheaval over the past year. Usually the council votes in agreement with the council member representing the district. As such, all eyes were on Council Member Margaret Chin, whose Downtown district includes the Washington Square area where the expansion is being proposed. While Chin said that the plan is “unacceptable as it stands” she didn’t outright reject the plan.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chin is casting a critical eye on the so-called Zipper Building on the southern super block. As the university agreed with City Planning to eliminate a hotel in that building, it seems likely that’s where the ax will fall. Borough President Scott Stringer, whose role is advisory, said that he had already negotiated a reduction in the Zipper Building, but City Planning set aside his suggestion.

This morning Chin added affordable housing to the list of her desires, opening up yet another round of arm twisting for NYU.  Whether the housing would be included on the site or within the district is unclear and whether that agreement would be binding will probably be a sticking point for the ever-vigilant Villagers. Open space was also on the Council Member’s radar, but her mention of preserving park space along the DOT strips along Mercer and Laguardia streets was already mapped out by Planning. However, Chin’s mention of the “thousands” of jobs that the project will bring indicates another mildly altered version of the plan will move forward.

For their part, NYU stuck to the script. As an example of a university busting at the seams, President John Sexton noted that the university’s library should seat 8,000 but could only accommodate 3,000. He countered claims that expansion was an attempt to fill college coffers with cash from more students, saying the expansion was physical in nature and would not correspond with a substantial growth in the student body, which he predicted would only increase by half a percent annually. He also defended the contention that the university couldn’t afford the project. “We wouldn’t be taxing our budget any more than we have over the last then years,” he said.

One Response to “NYU to Take Another Shave on Last Lap of ULURP Process”

  1. David says:

    Almost all the quotes in this article are lies or deceptions:

    Chin: “thousands” of jobs will be created: Most of these jobs are construction (temporary) jobs. Plus, these “new” jobs will be financed by increasing tuition and student debt. Sound familar to the justification of the single-family home crisis.

    Sexton: University’s library should seat 8,000 but could only accommodate 3,000. Really? Even during finals, the library still has open seats. Plus, that gigantic atrium takes up a lot of LOST space.

    Sexton: Not substantial growth in student body. That’s misleading because NYU has grown enormously in the past twenty years. Even 200-300 students addition annually is still a large amount of growth for a City College in absolute terms..

    Sexton: “We wouldn’t be taxing our budget any more than we have over the last then years,” THEN PLEASE EXPOSE THE FINANCIAL PLAN. NYU avoids this question. NOte that NYU students are already some of the most indebted and this PLan is surely not helping the cause for more affordable tuition or financial aid….

    I would also mention that NYU having to develop affordable housing will increase the cost of this plan, which will be past onto students. NYU kind of gave away some of their finances when they pushed for the Hotel. The Hotel was a money ploy to help finance this unaffordble project. Now that they dont’ have it, they want to maintain their silience on its financing…..

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