New York University has unveiled details of its proposed expansion plan in its central Washington Square. The plan calls for a re-imagining of its two superblocks in order to meet the college’s academic space needs without exceeding the height of any of the existing IM Pei-designed Towers and without the use of eminent domain.

Other aspects of the plan include the creation of public access and three acres of open space as well as the creation of community-based playgrounds and dog runs. The designation of the expansion site will be provided to the city for construction of a new seven-story public school with the addition of seven stories of NYU student residences above that will be located at the corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place.

The strategy for NYU’s plan was released last spring and is an outgrowth of NYU 2031: NYU in NYC which envisions the addition of as much as 6 million sq ft of space over more than two decades, half of which would be spread out among three locations including Manhattan’s Eastside health corridor in Downtown Brooklyn, on Governor’s Island and half around the university’s main location.

The proposal that was released today will be reviewed through New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure with environmental review documents expected to start being submitted to the Department of City Planning within the next few weeks. The portion of NYU 2031 that is up for consideration through the ULURP focuses on NYU’s superblocks in Greenwich Village and includes two new academic buildings containing an academic department and faculty offices on the Washington Square block, a 14-story building on the west side of Mercer Street, enhancing LaGuardia Place’s open space, the construction of an eight-story building which has shifted off of the LaGuardia Place strip, and the addition of extra classroom and student space which will be built below-grade beneath and between the two new academic buildings.

A mixed-use, 800,000 sq ft building that will be located on the site of the current Coles Gym is also part of the superblock plan. This building will have an approximate 5-story podium and a series of towers ranging from 27-stories on the corner of Mercer Street and Houston Street, which will match the height of the existing Silver Towers to 8-stories in the middle of the block. The building will be used for faculty and student residences, a NYU-affiliated hotel, classrooms, academic space, a rebuilt athletic facility and retail space.

Starting on March 21, the public can register to participate in discussions that NYU will be hosting in order to gain additional input from the community about the recent proposals. A private briefing can also be requested. 

-Carolina Worrell