City Planning Commission Approves Fordham PlanContact: Bob Howe
NEW YORK, N.Y.—APRIL 22, 2009: The New York City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve Fordham University’s plan for the development of its Lincoln Center campus. The plan now goes before the New York City Council, which has 50 days in which to consider and vote on the proposed development.
“The City Planning Commission’s vote is as welcome as it is forward looking,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “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.”
Commission Chair Amanda Burden and several other commissioners spoke favorably of Fordham’s cooperation with West Side residents and Community Board 7 in modifying the plan for its Lincoln Center campus, and of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer’s role in crafting a compromise plan. Burden and other commissioners also cited the importance of Fordham, and universities in general, to the economic and cultural well being of the city.
The draft approved by City Planning is a compromise plan which incorporated major changes requested by Stringer that reduced the overall size of the project; improved public access to the campus; widened sidewalks and increased street-level activity; and reduced planned parking spaces by more than 50 percent. The Commission built on these changes to introduce improvements in the overall way design is reflected in the plan.
If approved by the City Council, Fordham plans to begin construction on the Lincoln Center campus as soon as possible. The first phase of the development is a new Law School building designed by Pei Cobb Freed Architects. Fordham’s development plan required waivers for height, setback and some other items, but the University is not asking for changes in use or additional floor area beyond what is permitted by current zoning.
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in Westchester, and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.