By Roland Li
New York University is advancing as-of-right expansions in Downtown Brooklyn and the east side of Manhattan, while a controversial four-building plan in Greenwich Village enters the land use review process.
The school has selected EYP Architecture & Engineering, and Kohn, Pedersen, Fox Associates (KPF) to design a new 170,000 s/f facility for its College of Nursing at 433 First Avenue. The location is near existing medical facilities, including the N.Y.U. College of Dentistry and N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center.
The existing building will be demolished. Plans for the building were first reported by Town & Village, which said the building would open in the fall semester of 2013 or the spring semester of 2014, at a total cost of around $140 million.
The school has previously worked with EYP on N.Y.U.’s Molecular Design Institute, and KPF designed N.Y.U.’s Furman Hall.
“The academic consolidation of N.Y.U.’s College of Dentistry and College of Nursing six years ago has been a major success,” said Lynne Brown, senior vice president for university relations and public affairs at New York University, in a statement. “This step – their physical consolidation – is both the natural outgrowth of that academic decision and in line with the goals of the 2031 plan, by maximizing the use of our existing footprint and freeing up space in our core.”
Polytechnic Institute of New York University, its engineering school, will expand in Forest City Ratner’s 2 and 15 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, leasing an additional 120,000 s/f for 20 years, which includes a nine-year sublease with Wellpoint Insurance. The space will house the school’s computer science and electrical engineering programs, along with classrooms and offices. N.Y.U.-Poly’s existing facilities and infrastructure are also being renovated.
In contrast to the school’s often contentious interactions with Greenwich Village residents, there has been little opposition to growth in what the N.Y.U. describes as remote expansion areas.
“We welcome N.Y.U.-Poly’s expanded presence at MetroTech,” said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president, in a statement. “N.Y.U.-Poly will draw students from all over the world as it puts Downtown Brooklyn on the map as a top destination for cutting edge technology and research. The increased student population will be a boon for businesses and attract greater private investment to the area, which will strengthen Downtown Brooklyn as the city’s third-largest business district.”
At the end of April, N.Y.U. submitted an environmental assessment statement and a draft scoping document, detailing its Greenwich Village plans, to the Department of City Planning. The school has retained AKRF, a planning consultant, to oversee the process.
N.Y.U.’s plan calls for four new buildings and open space alterations in the two superblocks bounded by LaGuardia Place, West 3rd Street, Mercer Street and West Houston Street. The proposed structures include around 1 million s/f for academic use, 500,000 s/f for student and faculty housing, a new athletic center and 78,000 s/f of retail. It requires the lifting of deed restrictions on the superblocks, which prevent development until 2021, and the transfer of ownership of city-owned strips of land. However, N.Y.U. officials have said that the new buildings will not surpass the current zoning of the blocks.
In addition to the new buildings, N.Y.U. is seeking a special commercial zoning district that includes parts of five blocks east of Washington Square Park. The special district, known as a commercial overlay, would permit 23,236 s/f of new retail in five locations, allowing the school to shift some of the retail from the existing superblocks.
According to the draft scoping document, the south superblock would be developed by 2021. During construction, a temporary 30,000 s/f gym, built on the north block, would replace the Coles Athletic Center. Between 2021 and 2031, development would occur on the north block.
A public hearing will be held on Tuesday at the Department of City Planning at 22 Reade Street regarding the plan. In the next few months, AKRF will analyze a range of potential impacts of the project, including effects on traffic, shadows, open space and construction.
Early next year, N.Y.U. hopes to enter a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a seven-month process that will include recommendations on the project from Community Board 2, the Manhattan borough president, and decisive votes of approval from the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
If the new buildings are not approved, N.Y.U. plans to demolish the existing Morton Williams supermarket at the corner of Bleecker Street and Laguardia Place and develop the site after deed restrictions expire in 2021. N.Y.U. would also seek to build to maximum density in other areas and, as N.Y.U. spokesman John Beckman told NYU Local, the school would consider purchasing buildings in the surrounding area.