N.Y.U.’s Plan to Expand Is Approved by Council

Ann McClure's picture

As opponents shouted “Shame!” from a City Council balcony, New York University won final approval on Wednesday for a huge expansion plan that will change the look and feel of Greenwich Village more than almost any other project in decades.

By an overwhelming 44-to-1 vote, the Council approved a series of zoning amendments, permits and map changes that will allow the university to erect four buildings that together will add a skyscraper’s worth of classrooms, dorm rooms and office space to a leafy 12-block parcel occupied by two university apartment complexes — Washington Square Village and Silver Towers — south of Washington Square Park.

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn applauded the new plan in remarks before the vote, saying that while she understood residents’ concerns, “I think this plan appropriately balances the need of an important university to grow and expand — which is good for our city — with the historic neighborhood it’s in.”

As the Council started its session with ceremonies and proclamations unrelated to the expansion plan, 50 of the plan’s opponents — faculty members critical of it, residents of the apartment complexes, and neighborhood activists — glared down silently from the balcony overlooking the Council chamber while holding yellow signs saying: “NYU 2031 Wrong for NYC. Wrong for the Village. Wrong for NYU.”

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