Council Member Gale Brewer threw her support behind Fordham University’s expansion of its Lincoln Square campus.
This all but clears the way for the plan, which covers the area bordered by West 60th and 62nd streets and Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. On June 10, Brewer urged a City Council Land Use subcommittee to approve the project. Once the whole Land Use Committee passes the project, the full Council will vote and make a final determination for the proposal. The Council as a whole often defers to the member whose district holds the development.
The Fordham expansion, originally 2.3 million square feet, had been criticized as fortress-like and inaccessible to the surrounding neighborhood by West Side elected officials, Community Board 7, residents and the group Fordham Neighbors United.
As the plan moved through the public land-use review process—which included hearings at the community board, negotiations with Borough President Scott Stringer and approval by the City Planning Commission—Fordham made concessions on the proposal’s bulk, height and public space.
Brewer worked with the university to modify the plan further, narrowing buildings on Columbus Avenue, shortening a tall residential building on Amsterdam Avenue and getting Fordham to agree to develop the project in an environmentally sound way.
“Fordham is very important to the city as an institution,” Brewer said. “I want Fordham to be competitive, but a good neighbor too.”
The agreement also included a provision that two qualified neighborhood residents, appointed by the borough president and the local Council member, will also sit on the Fordham University Design Review Commission. The local appointments will evaluate the two market-rate apartment buildings on Amsterdam Avenue and review street-level space, with the goal of incorporating independent small businesses.
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