Fordham University’s expansion plan cleared another crucial hurdle today when the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Lincoln Center campus project. The City Council now has 50 days to evaluate and vote on the proposal, which covers the area bordered by West 60th and 62nd streets and Columbus and Amsterdam avenues.
“The City Planning Commission’s vote is as welcome as it is forward looking,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Fordham’s president, in a statement. “We are grateful for the time and energy Chairperson Amanda Burden and her fellow commissioners and the staff have put into considering the university’s plan, and pleased that their decision recognizes the importance of Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus to the university, local community and to the city.”
Objecting to the plan’s overall bulk and height, and pointing to the potential for additional public school crowding, Community Board 7 unanimously rejected the plan in January. But Borough President Scott Stringer threw his support in Fordham’s camp after he was able to broker a deal that reduced square footage, increased public space and access, and cut parking in half. The commission further altered the proposal, according to Fordham’s press release, by introducing “improvements in the overall way design is reflected in the plan.”
Council Member Gale Brewer, whose district includes Fordham, will likely play a crucial role in getting the plan approved by the Council. Brewer has said little about the proposal, but told City Planning in a March 4 hearing that she thought Fordham should have provide more specifics about the design of the buildings that will be constructed.
If approved by the Council, Fordham has said it will begin construction as soon as possible. The first phase of development is a new law school building designed by Pei Cobb Freed Architects.
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