A few years from now, New York University students may be calling the World Trade Center’s Tower 5 their “dorm.”
That’s right, according to the New York Post, NYU officials are eying the yet-to-be-built tower as part of an ambitious 20-year plan to expand by a whopping 40 percent, adding 6 million square feet of housing, classrooms and administrative space in the process. Around half of that behemoth square footage will likely be added in the school’s current Greenwich Village neighborhood, but space constraints in the area have forced NYU to look elsewhere for the rest of the expansion. That’s where the WTC and Lower Manhattan figure in to the plan.
In a June 11 letter to the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., NYU Vice President Lynne Brown requested a meeting with rebuilding officials to determine which buildings in the downtown area might be available to the university. According to Brown, community officials have lobbied for NYU to move into WTC Tower 5, which will be commence building on the site of the currently-being-demolished Deutsche Bank building when that area is cleared later this year.
Tower 5 is reportedly slated to include 1.3 million square feet of space, and the Port Authority is seeking a developer willing to construct an office building or a combo hotel/housing high-rise, which would be right in NYU’s wheelhouse. The Port Authority is definitely not opposed to the idea. Says a PA spokesperson, “We’re certainly willing to meet with NYU and pleased that there is so much continuing interest in the site during its building.”
For her part, Brown wants to meet with Lower Manhattan Development Corp. officials “to assess whether there is some role that the university can play to help revitalize and diversify the area.”
And, by all accounts, the downtown community seems to welcome the idea. Says Community Board 1 chairperson Julie Menin, “I think it makes sense for a whole lot of reasons. I think Tower 5 is perfect for them.”
In addition to a 40-story housing tower NYU wants to build on Bleecker Street, school officials have also targeted Downtown Brooklyn, a corridor along First Avenue in Manhattan — near NYU’s medical center — and Governors Island as locations for possible expansion.
Let’s just hope that in all this expansion, NYU remembers to include plans to bring more Chick Fil-A’s to the city. The one located in the school’s Greenwich Village student center is currently the only one in Manhattan.