While the West Village is hosting a town hall meeting on the future of NYU expansion at Our Lady of Pompeii, basement, Carmine & Bleecker, 6:30, East Villagers ought to be alarmed by NYU's decision not to build on its own campus. All voices at the town hall will ask NYU to build in the financial district, but NYU may be looking for closer locations more attractive to their students. That's would be our neighborhood.
Although the EV and the 3rd & 4th Avenue triangle have been recently rezoned to cap heights, there are still plenty of available development sites here. 3rd Avenue still allows the same bulk as prior to the rezoning, and it allows more bulk than the NYU dorm that already stands on 3rd Ave at 10th Street. (It's only 5.31 FAR. Under the new zoning, 3rd Ave allows 6.5 FAR for dormitories!) And they can build as high as 12 stories on 3rd Ave -- the current dorms there are only two stories taller than that.
And then there's El Bohio, the old P.S. 64. It's already standing, requiring minimal construction, and it is a huge lot. A dormitory there would end all hopes for a community center. So there's plenty to worry about.
When NYU unveiled its plans to build on its own campus, it seemed to me a great relief. The I.M.Pei site is already high-rise, full of wasted, unused, inhospitable concrete plaza space that feels like and looks like a wind tunnel. But NYU's ambition overreached with a plan of excessive height, including a hotel, that riled the locals.
The underlying problem for NYU is its limited endowment. Unlike universities with huge endowments, NYU depends on tuition. So it thrives more like a corporation than a university. It needs more students -- it needs expansion in a way that some other universities don't. So the problem of NYU expansion is not likely to go away. The question is, where will it go?