NYU Withdraws Plan for Tower, Then Suggests Another for Greenwich Village

New York University’s battle with Greenwich Village preservationists will continue after the school changed a building site without switching neighborhoods.

NYU abandoned plans to add a fourth tower in a university- owned complex, saying it instead wants to construct a building down the block. Architect I.M. Pei, whose firm designed the three University Village buildings in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, joined the opposition to the fourth tower, prompting the school to withdraw plans with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The 38-story tower would have provided space for housing for faculty or students, and possibly a university-owned hotel. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation will continue to oppose NYU’s plans because the character of the area would change too much, said Andrew Berman, executive director of the neighborhood group. The society would prefer for NYU to expand in the Wall Street area, Berman said.

“We still have a huge fight on our hands for the rest of the plan,” Berman said in a telephone interview. “It would overwhelm the village by shoehorning 2 million square feet of space around Washington Square Park.”

NYU will seek to construct a building 17 to 20 stories high, on the nearby alternative site now occupied by a supermarket, Beckman said.

The revised plan removes the need for clearance by landmarks officials because the new site doesn’t have protected status, Beckman said.

NYU, the largest private, nonprofit university by enrollment in the U.S., wants to expand its campus by 40 percent by 2031, with about half of the additions in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, according to the school’s master plan.

More than 43,400 students attend NYU, which was founded in 1831. The university counts among its graduates former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York jlorin@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at jkaufman17@bloomberg.net.

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