The recent e-blast from NYU trumpeted CPC’s approval of the NYU 2031 Core Expansion Plan with minor changes (as expected), and stated that the application does not require up-zoning.*
Be very clear – NYU cannot build their proposed buildings without changing the zoning. The superblocks currently have R7 zoning – the highest level of mid-density zoning and higher than most zoning in Greenwich Village. It is only found in the area on avenues or wide commercial thoroughfares like 8th Street. The commercial zone with which NYU seeks to blanket the two residential superblocks is the equivalent of R8 residential zoning (considered high-density), plus commercial allowed on the lower floors.
R7 is lower than R8, so NYU is clearly seeking upzoning! R8 requires just HALF the open space and allows almost DOUBLE the residential density. The superblocks are already overbuilt with regards to open space (the north block was built before the 1961 zoning resolution’s requirements were in place) so nothing can be built on the main zoning lot without a zoning change. Yes, it’s an UPZONING, despite NYU’s misleading communications.
So NYU can build NOTHING on these blocks other than on the Morton Williams supermarket or the Citibank/restaurant strip of stores which are separate zoning lots.
CAAN continues to stand firm on its three basic principles:
- No blanket rezoning
- No taking/use of public land
- No elimination of existing deed restrictions
NYU has implied to some elected officials that they could build the entire project as-of-right other than the deed restriction. This is NOT TRUE. As community members, it is imperative that our elected officials, especially our city councilmembers, are made aware of this fact.
* Actual quote from Dr. Alicia Hurley’s email of June 6, 2012:
"NYU’s plan—which proposes to build on the University’s existing property and does not make use of eminent domain, residential tenant dislocation, or up-zoning"...
Note: the land was acquired by the City via Title 1 Slum Clearance – similar to eminent domain, and sold to NYU at 1/3 the going price for land in the area in a questionable bidding process according to articles in the New York Times during the process. As far as residential tenant dislocation, this may be achieved indirectly by residents fleeing the area during 20 years of construction. And yes, it’s an up-zoning.