NYU unveiled a major part of their “NYU: 2031” expansion plan this week. The plans loosely detail the construction of a 400-foot tall dorm and hotel as part of the Silver Towers complex at Bleecker and West Houston.
Silver Towers already houses three towers designed by architect I.M. Pei, each of which stands at 32 stories tall. The site was landmarked in 2008, meaning NYU has to seek special approval to build on it. This is the very first of the steps NYU must take to get their tower built. As The Greenwich Village Society For Historical Preservation (GVSHP) explains in their report of the plans:
In order to build the 400 ft. tall tower NYU has proposed, they also need zoning changes for the site, restrictive deeds prohibiting construction on the site to be lifted, and city-owned land to be transferred to NYU. These require the approval of the City Council, the City Planning Commission, the Mayor, and city agencies, and those processes will not begin until and unless NYU gets landmarks approvals.
This picture from NYU’s press release uses perspective to make it look like the 4th tower will be shorter than than the other three. In fact, the building is planned at about 4 stories taller than the other three (or 60 feet). Although this building will be huge, it will aesthetically at least be a better fit in the neighborhood than NYU’s Founder’s Hall is. That dorm, at 3rd and 12th (on the former site of St. Ann’s church), is an absolute eyesore. Standing at 26 stories high surrounded by short buildings, it looks like the kid who went through puberty before everyone else in elementary school. At least this fourth tower will have taller friends to stand around.