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Thread: New York University Expansion

  1. #376

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    Who controls the covenants? Likely they're between the city and NYU, and controlled by municpal code. If both parties agree to change them, do any third parties have any right to interpose themselves. And city law is the realm of the city council. They have every right to change these agreements as they see fit. Laws can be amended or repealed. Nothing is cast in stone.

  2. #377
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The party you're leaving out is the citizenry of NYC, who were granted rights to use not only the public land but also areas within the NYU owned buildings & property. Under those covenants, NYU agreed to provide access and use on that land for the all people of NYC.

    This new real estate deal between the City & NYU takes away that public use and access, thereby diminishing rights to the people that were previously agreed to.

    Sure, NYU & politicians can try to take away what was granted. But that doesn't mean they'll get away with it.

    And, as far as I can find, neither the City nor NYU has revealed what price was negotiated for transfer of that public land to this Real Estate Investment Corporation (aka the not for profit University).

    But, hey, where's the problem? Shut up. Move on. Get with it. This is 2012.

  3. #378

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    First, as part of the zoning vote, was any land actually transferred, or will that be a separate action by the city? I know that land transfer was part of the plan, but in all the hooplah about the zoning change, I didn't hear about that actually being included in the legislation mandating the zoning chane.

    Second, even if it was, or if it gets done later, the city has the right to sell or give away land it holds as it sees fit. The parcels in question are owned by various agencies, and the city can transfer them if it wants.

    The penelty for the city, or, more properly, the politicians running it, for not doing what the people of the city want, are that they have to face the voters to keep their jobs. Quinn will likely get punished for her involvement in this project by becoming Mayor. Bloomberg is getting term limited out anyway. And who's left, Chin? I don't think she was on any kind of upward electoral political track from the council, and would eventually get term limited out anyway. She'll now likely get a nice associate chancellorship at NYU, or be a commissioner of something under Quinn. Not enough people care about this to really make a difference at any level that really counts.

  4. #379
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    NYU Expansion Schedule, New Building Heights Revealed

    by Jessica Dailey





    Now that NYU's 2031 expansion plan has been approved, the school is trying its best to make sure the community has every. single. detail. of the schedule and construction plans. At an information session last night with Community Board 2, Alicia Hurley, NYU's VP for government and community affairs, passed out printed info packets of the final ULURP presentation, along with an extensive chart of NYU's main commitments and requirements and when they will be happening. So what's first? Well, no actual construction will begin until sometime in 2014, as NYU doesn't have an architect or construction team yet, so the buildings still need to be designed. Where construction will start is still yet to be decided, but no two buildings will be built at the same time.

    NYU is trying to decide which academic departments most desperately need more space, which will inform which building goes first. This really baffled people, with one man practically shouting, "Shouldn't you have figured this out before you started planning?" The first new building will either be the 980,000-square-foot Zipper Building on Mercer Street between Bleecker and Houston Streets or the 170,000-square-foot Bleecker Building at the corner of LaGuardia Place. From the original plans to the approved plans, the Zipper building saw a 6.7 percent reduction in size. The tallest tower, at Mercer and Houston will reach 275 feet, while the lowest will stop at 85 feet along Bleecker Street. The 7-story Bleecker Building lost 55K-square-feet, and it will reach 108 feet high.

    In Washington Square Village, where construction will not begin until 2022, the boomerang buildings saw pretty hefty chops. The Mercer building lost 72.4 percent and will be only four-stories. Its counterpart on LaGuardia was reduced by 46-square-feet to eight-stories.

    Of course, the community had a number of concerns, most of which we've heard before. Here are a few big ones:

    • There was a lot of anger over the destruction/relocation of the Sasaki Garden. This won't happen until at least 2022, but that didn't stop one woman from comparing its possible relocation to the relocation of refugees in Africa. Because community gardens and displaced peoples are equals.
    • The deadline for the School Construction Authority to decide whether or not it needs 25,000-square-feet in the Bleecker Building for a new school has been moved up from 2025 to 2014. This really upset CB2's chairman, who was adamant that needs in 13 years could be a lot different than in two years. The city moved the decision date because they want to make sure the space was used for the community if the SCA didn't claim it.
    • On still needing an architect: "You should look at the new Cooper Union Buildings, they are much nicer than any of the garbage NYU has built." Others told Hurley they'd be sending her suggestions for architects to work with.
    • Faculty members want the quality of life in Silver Towers to be improved. One lady claimed they have "rat invasions" even on the 23rd floor.

    So what's happening now? A bunch of different oversight and monitoring committees need to be made, and NYU is building a new website that will host all of this information and a lot more.

    NYU 2031 [official]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/1...s_revealed.php

  5. #380

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    One little side note to come out of this rezoning.

    The opponents of this plan intended to take their wrath out on Margaret Chin, for allowing it to get through the City Council. Chin won her primary, essentially guaranteeing she'll keep her council seat. I think this goes to show, despite all the sturm und drang at the time, how truly thin the opposition was.

  6. #381
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    In CD1 incumbent Chin won by 2,412 votes (Chin: 8,303 = 58.5%; Rajkumar: 5,891 = 41.5%). There were nearly 4,000 more voters who went to the polls in the 2013 primary than in the 2009 primary (2009: 11,516 votes; 2013: 14,914 votes). I've not yet seen the results by Election District, but it seems a good number of those additional voters were in the Chinatown area, where NYU meant nothing. And it's worth noting that Rajkumar got more votes this time than all the votes Chin got when she won in 2009 (4,541 votes).

    Note that in neighboring CD2 the incumbent Rosie Mendez won with 81.3%.

    Chin won. But she has weak support. The REBNY backing didn't help her in that sense, and now she'll have to show she means it when she claims it was Bad Money.

  7. #382
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The opposition to the behemoth NYU 2031 Plan, so berated by some here, scored a big win in court today ...

    Judge Blocks Part of N.Y.U.’s Plan for Four Towers in Greenwich Village


    New York University
    A conceptual design of an expanded campus for New York University.
    The first tower planned, the Zipper Building, bottom left corner, is also the largest; it could rise to 26 stories.


    NY TIMES
    By CHARLES V BAGLI
    January 7, 2014

    A state judge on Tuesday unexpectedly blocked about half of New York University’s large and hotly debated expansion plan to build four towers in the school’s leafy and largely low-scale Greenwich Village neighborhood.

    The judge, Donna M. Mills, of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, ruled that the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had wrongfully agreed to turn over three public parks to the university to enable construction without first obtaining approval from the State Legislature.

    Still, the university insisted that the ruling would permit it to move forward with its largest building, a one-million-square-foot academic tower that would be erected on the site of the university’s gym. The opponents, however, argued that Justice Mills’s ruling should stop the project dead in its tracks.

    While both sides claimed victory, only one thing was certain: The battle over the expansion will continue.

    “It’s a new day in New York City,” said Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick, a plaintiff in the lawsuit whose district includes the university campus.

    “Sometimes communities can win,” Ms. Glick added. “The project was too big for the neighborhood in which it was located and not essential to the future of N.Y.U.”

    The university issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying that the “complex ruling is a very positive one for N.Y.U.,” since the judge threw out five of the six claims made by opponents of the project.

    John Beckman, a spokesman for the university, said the ruling would also allow it to proceed with the first — and biggest — of the four buildings planned for the expansion. Known as the Zipper Building, the first tower could be as tall as 26 stories.

    Construction could begin within 18 months, N.Y.U. officials said.

    It was unclear whether the university would appeal the ruling.

    “Once we have a chance to thoroughly review the decision with our planning team,” Mr. Beckman said, “and determine the precise impact of the ruling on our ability to implement other elements of the plan, we will work with the city to determine our next legal steps.”

    But Randy M. Mastro, a partner at Gibson Dunn who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the opposition, said it was “delusional” for anyone to argue that one portion of what had been a comprehensive project could move forward alone.

    “Any such piecemeal approach would constitute a new project materially different from that previously approved by the city and requiring its own separate environmental review and approval process,” Mr. Mastro said. “So N.Y.U. has to go back to Square 1. Its massive project is now dead.”

    The City Council approved the expansion plan by a vote of 44 to 1 in July 2012, despite widespread opposition from the N.Y.U. faculty, preservationists, community groups and Assemblywoman Glick.

    N.Y.U., which has 50,000 students and 17,500 employees, has struggled to keep pace with its rapid growth over the past two decades. The university’s president, John Sexton, is seeking to add 1.9 million square feet of classrooms, dormitories and office space to a 12-acre parcel where two university apartment complexes now stand, south of Washington Square Park.

    But many local residents, including faculty members, loathed the idea of introducing more high-rise towers to the neighborhood, along with the noise and disruption that would come with 20 years of construction.

    The expansion plan was one of several reasons the faculty at several of the university’s schools approved votes of “no confidence” in Mr. Sexton over the past year.




  8. #383
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Seeing as how the court ruling removes almost all the area that NYU plans to use for construction staging of the Zipper Building, it will be problematic for them to figure out how to move ahead -- unless NYU is granted the use of the narrow nearby public streets as part of their construction zone.

    But, ooooops .... that would require a new ULURP (since the plan as approved didn't include any of the implications for that type of imposition into the nearby community).

  9. #384
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Stymied at home, the NYU Expansion Abroad continues apace ...

    RELATED POST

  10. #385

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    We'll see if that ruling stands on appeal. We'll also see NYU is able to push the transfer through the legislature. It would likely have no problem in the senate, and how many assemblycritters (other then the ones in the immediate area) even care? I have no doubt Cuomo would sign off. Remember, this got through the city council, which is much more locally exposed.

    Edit: The big question: Where does Sheldon Silver stand on this issue. If he okays it, it'll go through.
    Last edited by BBMW; January 8th, 2014 at 05:34 PM.

  11. #386

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    I wish that NYU would acquire and redevelop the site on 6th Ave with the horrible Staples store, among others.

  12. #387
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    N.Y.U. Project Is Stymied by Incidental Village Parks

    By SAM ROBERTS


    La Guardia Park may have become “parkland by implication”; it was mapped for street use in a highway plan.
    Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

    According to preservationists, Jane Jacobs may have just saved Greenwich Village. Again.

    A ruling on Tuesday by Justice Donna M. Mills of State Supreme Court in Manhattan to block, at least temporarily, about half of New York University’s sprawling expansion plan was a direct outgrowth of Ms. Jacobs’s successful struggle decades ago to thwart another highly contentious project — the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway, long championed by Robert Moses, which would have gutted Greenwich Village, including Washington Square Park.

    Green space inadvertently created by the thwarted expressway is also a critical part of the legal case against the expansion. Three tiny blocklong strips, which official maps still label as public streets accessing the defunct expressway, have functioned for more than a decade as narrow parks and playgrounds. The green space never would have been created if Ms. Jacobs had lost to Moses.

    “It seems so ironic that Robert Moses’s Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have destroyed so much that is precious about Greenwich Village, winds up, for a time, at least, saving Greenwich Village,” said Robert A. Caro, the author of “The Power Broker,” the monumental biography of Moses.

    New York University officials maintain that the judge’s ruling did not stop the university from proceeding with its plan to construct the biggest building of the project.

    But opponents said the decision would safeguard a neighborhood that has a history of thwarting ambitious projects.

    “Jane Jacobs managed to upend Moses’s decision to turn Washington Square Park into a thoroughfare and plow through Lower Manhattan and the judge is honoring her spirit,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the university.

    The N.Y.U. expansion, on two superblocks between West Houston and West Third Streets, has arguably generated more rancor than any other project in the neighborhood since the proposed expressway in the 1960s.

    And the expressway’s legacy figures prominently in the suit against the university. Supporters said the highway would have eased the flow of traffic between Long Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey by taking cars off Manhattan streets.

    But Ms. Jacobs denounced Moses’s project as a “monstrous and useless folly” and dismissed the arguments for it as unadulterated “piffle.” The expressway was declared legally dead in 1971, but not before the city, in 1954, formally designated four slivers of property in the neighborhood as streets intended for the road’s access ramps.

    In 1967, though, the City Planning Commission voted to transfer four of the slivers, at the corners of the two superblocks, from the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation to the parks department. The formal transfer was never completed, however. Still, the slivers have been used as a playground, a community garden and a tiny park.

    When a street becomes a park may seem like merely a distinction without a difference, but it turned out to be the core of the case against N.Y.U. (the other five causes of action cited by the plaintiffs were dismissed by the judge). Streets may not be sacrosanct, but, legally, the city cannot dispose of parkland without the permission of the State Legislature.

    “Although the law governing what is necessary to establish parkland by implication is less than crystal clear,” Justice Mills ruled, “a number of cases suggest that the long continued use of a property as a park can, itself, establish the property as parkland by implication.”

    “It is the view of this court,” she concluded, “that long-continued use of the land for park purposes may be sufficient to establish dedication by implication, despite the fact that the property is still mapped for long-abandoned street use.”

    She said, however, that the project could still proceed if the city obtained the Legislature’s approval to appropriate the parkland or if the university developed alternative plans for construction that would not interfere with the areas, Mercer Playground, La Guardia Park and La Guardia Corner Gardens.

    The judge’s decision applied to those three of the four slivers, but not to a dog run on Mercer Street. As a result, the university says it will proceed with construction of a one-million-square-foot academic tower on the site of the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center.

    Randy M. Mastro, a former deputy mayor and a lawyer for the plaintiffs, insisted that one building could not go ahead without subjecting all four to a new approval process. Philip E. Karmel of Bryan Cave, the law firm representing N.Y.U., maintained that the judge ruled only narrowly on the parks issue affecting three of the towers.

    Ultimately, two of the slivers would be remapped as public parks after they are used as staging areas for construction, which is expected to be completed in 20 years.

    “The only reason they didn’t get formally mapped before this was that N.Y.U. was the 800-pound gorilla,” Mr. Mastro said. “The city should have gone to the State Legislature. They cut corners.”

    Henry J. Stern, a former parks commissioner who had sought during his tenure to have the slivers transferred to his department, said he hoped for a compromise, but added: “It’s nice when the community wins now and then to put the fear of God into the university so they can’t ignore the legitimate community interest. But if Moses couldn’t break the Village, why shouldn’t they run roughshod over N.Y.U.?”

    One of his successors as parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, disagreed. “The irony is, if this project is completed, it will result in two of these properties being turned into parks created at N.Y.U.’s expense,” he said. “It’s almost cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/ny...l?ref=nyregion

  13. #388
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Mr. Benepe: There's a nice guest room awaiting you in Bermuda.

    (Those "parks created at NYU's expense" currently are parks used by hundreds of local citizens, but to fulfill Benepe's sense of "irony" they'd soon be bulldozed, then dug out, then built upon and not completed until 2031 -- 17 years from now.)

  14. #389
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    The local view, from The Villager (the article includes an Orwellian response to the court ruling from the local Councilmember, the leader of the City Council action to give away & alienate the public parkland):

    Judge says city broke the law by approving N.Y.U. superblocks plan

    Scroll down there and read the comments, which include a series of very mean-spirited and legally-illogical entries from one particular commenter.

  15. #390

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    Good article, and some 'interesting' commentary too....

    I wonder if that BBMW commenter on the Villager article is also our very own WNY poster BBMW.......?

    Most likely LOL

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