NEWS: Residents Sue to Stop EVill MegaDorm,0,6469397.story

Residents fight looming NYU dorm
By Justin Rocket Silverman
amNewYork Staff Writer

August 29, 2006
A group of downtown residents sought in court Monday to block construction of a 700-student New York University dorm, which at 26 stories would be the tallest building in the East Village.

State Supreme Court Justice Karen Smith of Manhattan declined to issue the injunction sought by the group. She said she would make a final decision next week on whether their lawsuit to stop the project has merit.

“NYU has been the worst neighbor in every respect possible,” said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “They are pursuing an aggressive overdevelopment of the neighborhood and putting up a building that looks like something out of a Japanese horror film.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs testified that the Hudson Companies, the builder hired by NYU, illegally purchased air rights from a nearby post office. He said government agencies like the Postal Service are not held to the same city laws as private builders, so have no permission to sell air rights.

Without those rights, Berman said, the dorm would have to be 40 percent smaller.

“The contention about the air rights has no merit whatsoever,” said David Satnick, a lawyer for Hudson Companies. “We showed the judge numerous instances where government agencies have conveyed air-rights.”

An NYU spokesman called it a “baseless lawsuit.”

Construction has already begun on the dorm on the old site of St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church on East 12th Street. The church’s facade is being incorporated into the design.

Last month, residents and politicians gathered at the site to decry what they said was NYU’s lack of concern for the historical character of the neighborhood.

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

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