Downtown denizens looking to escape the NYU hipster scene by day-tripping to Governors Island or retreating to Brooklyn may soon be in for a surprise. The university is proposing a massive expansion, the largest in its history, which includes plans for a new tower near Washington Square Park and 3 million square feet of new buildings in Greenwich Village, as well as a 1 million-square-foot engineering school in Brooklyn and a “satellite campus” (with dorms and faculty housing!) on Governors Island. The proposal outlines a 40 percent expansion to the physical plant of the campus over the next twenty years, though it will need the go-ahead from city agencies before moving forward.
Already, the proposal has been met with concern by neighbors and preservationists.
“They’ve been deliberate and thoughtful,” Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber said. “That doesn’t mean it’s all going to go exactly as they intended. There’s lots of opportunity for discussion here.”
Others aren’t so civil about the plans, which will be formally presented in a series of meetings next month.
“We’re deeply concerned,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “NYU seems to have worked on their P.R. machine quite a bit, but the reality of what they’re doing — which is taking over more and more of the neighborhood — doesn’t seem like it’s changed very much. They’ve given everybody the opportunity to say what they think and then they’ve largely ignored that feedback.”
The university is looking to achieve 240 academic square feet per student by 2031; right now it has 160 (compared to Columbia’s 326 and Yale’s 866). NYU expects its student body to grow from the current population of approximately 41,000 to about 46,500 over the next two decades.