ANDREW J. HAWKINS
OCTOBER 14, 2014 12:48 P.M.
New York University’s controversial Greenwich Village expansion plan got the green light from a state appellate court Tuesday, overturning a lower court’s ruling that blocked the university’s 1.9 million-square-foot project on the grounds that it would infringe on a community garden that was essentially protected parkland.
In January, a state Supreme Court judge affirmed the position of several community groups that the garden at La Guardia Place was a de facto park, and as such would require permission from the state Legislature to change its designation. NYU, with backing from the de Blasio administration, argued that the land was state-owned and not parkland. On Tuesday, an Appellate Division court issued a four-page ruling siding with the university and City Hall.
"NYU is very pleased by today’s unanimous decision from the Appellate Division, which strongly upheld the city’s and the university’s positions, reaffirmed that the approvals process was properly followed, and reversed the lower court’s designation of some strips of land on the superblocks as ‘implied parkland,’ " an NYU spokesman said. “The need for additional academic space is clear and has been reaffirmed by a faculty-led committee, and it is now also clear that the university has the legal right to proceed with this project.”