NEW YORK—Eleven groups filed a lawsuit against the city Monday to overturn New York University’s (NYU) expansion plan in Greenwich Village.
In July, the city approved NYU’s plan to build four new buildings and demolish two existing low-rise buildings around Washington Square Park.
NYU was given the 2 million square feet of space in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. At that time the land was public space.
The Greenwich Village Society for History Preservation (GVSHP), one of the groups filing the lawsuit, said NYU’s plan violates the terms of agreements the land was given under and would effectively transform “a residential neighborhood into a 20-year construction zone.”
GVSHP said in a release that this is the first time they have turned to the courts, because “the magnitude of the impact of the NYU plan was too great, the consequence of the approvals too far-reaching, the breaking of prior agreements too indefensible …”
Local residents and groups, such as the GVSHP and the NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, have been petitioning for plan alterations since the NYU 2031 initiative was unveiled. In response to pressure from the community, NYU shaved about 20 percent off the original proposal for the new academic buildings.
“The final approved plan provides necessary space for important academic uses–classrooms and other educational facilities, a new athletic facility, study areas, performance and theater spaces, and faculty office and research space, as well as student and faculty housing,” said Alicia Furley, vice president of NYU, in a statement after City Council approved the plan.
NYU 2031 is a strategy the university has outlined to utilize 6 million square feet of space for academic and housing use. The core section of the plan, approved in July, is centered on Washington Square Park.
The plan includes a 1 million square-foot Zipper Building to be built on Mercer Street, and three 30-story towers, known as Silver Towers, close by.
Neighborhood groups against the plan have criticized NYU’s use of land, saying the area is already oversaturated with NYU buildings, and the planned construction will “take away precious public park space.”
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