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City Council Gets Earful At NYU Expansion Hearing

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The City Council heard an earful of complaints Friday from those against NYU's proposed Greenwich Village expansion plans. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

New York University officials said at a City Council hearing Friday that the school's Greenwich Village campus needs to grow by about two million square feet. The plan is to build four new high-rise buildings in the area bounded by West 3rd Street, Mercer Street, West Houston Street and LaGuardia Place.

"Space translates at a university like NYU into talent," said NYU president John Sexton.

The expansion plan is now before the City Council. It seems unlikely that NYU will get everything it wants.

Margaret Chin, the councilwoman who represents the area, said she has serious concerns about the proposal. Traditionally, the local council member is able to exert a good deal of influence over the final deal of a project like this.

"I strongly believe that this plan is unacceptable in its current form," Chin said.

The project has the backing of business, labor and real estate groups. Supporters argue it would create jobs and boost the local economy.

"This is a plan that will help a university, help a city, help a community," said Richard Anderson of the New York Building Congress.

Some local residents and faculty members who are fighting the expansion said they are not opposed to seeing NYU grow in other neighborhoods. Just not in Greenwich Village, where the University is based.

"We are not interested in any compromise version of this plan that means taking a few stories off this building or moving the front of that one off a few feet," said Mark Crispin Miller of the NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan.

Actor Matthew Broderick added some star power to the fight.

"People still desperately want to live here but I am not sure people will if the quirkiness and gorgeousness and humanness of the Village keeps disappearing," he said.

Broderick grew up near Washington Square Park and now lives in the West Village.

"NYU's expansion plan is so massive that it is danger of wiping out the very thing that makes it so unique," he said.

The city council is expected to make a final decision on the proposal by the end of July.

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