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NYU Expansion, Trimmed Again, Passes Crucial Vote

Yesterday, the controversial plan to expand New York University's footprint in Greenwich Village over the next 20 years was approved by a City Council committee after last minute negotiations and reductions, reports Joseph Berger.
July 18, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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NYU's controversial 2031 expansion plan came up before the City Council's Land Use Committee on Tuesday, and came away with a 19 to 1 victory, "all but assuring that the city will give the university the go-ahead to proceed with its much-debated development," declares Berger. Under pressure from Margaret Chin, who represents Greenwich Village, NYU agreed to further reductions in building sizes, and promised to preserve more parkland and create more communal spaces, after late night and early morning negotiations. "The changes amount to a 26 percent reduction in space from N.Y.U.'s original plan," notes Berger.  

In The New York Observer, Matt Chaban reports on the vocal, if late in the game, opposition to the plan by one key stakeholder group - NYU faculty. According to Chaban, "36 departments or divisions at the university have come out against the plan," led by Mark Crispin Miller, a media and culture professor. The group released an alternative plan on the same day as the council vote, arguing, "that NYU only needs a fraction of the space it is proposing because little of what is being initially built-only 18 percent in the first of four towers-is for academic uses."

While the faculty plan came late in the five-year planning process, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, led by executive director Andrew Berman, have raised consistent objections to the plan for the duration of the process. 

"In a statement, Mr. Berman called the Land Use Committee's approval 'a slap in the face to the thousands of area residents and the countless N.Y.U. faculty and staff workers who called for the plan to be voted down.'"

"We will take this battle to the full Council," he added, "and possibly beyond."


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Published on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 in The New York Times
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