New York University is getting some room to grow after the City Council approved NYU's plan to expand its Greenwich Village campus by nearly two million square feet. But the approval came over the strenuous objections of some local residents. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
The fight over New York University's plan to expand its Greenwich Village campus has always been a heated one. But it reached a boiling point just before the City Council voted 44 to 1 in favor of the project.
Protesters were ejected from the council chambers and then clashed with security officers in the hallway before heading outside.
"This is extremely disappointing," said preservation advocate Andrew Berman. "It will be incredibly damaging to our neighborhood and incredibly damaging, we believe, to the university as well."
NYU is planning to add four new buildings to its Greenwich Village campus, 1.9 million square feet of new space in all and more than one million square feet above ground.
The new construction will take place on the area bounded by West Houston Street, Mercer Street, LaGuardia Place and West Third Street.
"This is going to be academic space," said Alicia Hurley, NYU's Vice President of Government Affairs. "Classrooms, performance facilities, some space for student dorms, a new athletic center, faculty housing as well but primarily faculty research and classroom space."
"This action today reflects an attempt to balance the need of a great university to grow in a way that will allow it to teach more people," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Many local residents and faculty members are also lashing out against the land use process, calling it a sham. They are now planning to sue to block the project.
"This was a bad day for democracy," said Jim Walden, an attorney for NYU expansion opponents. "But believe me when I say it was a good day for our legal strategy.
It is clear the fight over this project is not over yet.