Fordham University Lincoln Center Master Plan Proposal Summary
As a major institution at the core of New York's higher education community, Fordham is a vital part of the life and economy of New York City. This is particularly true of those schools located at our Lincoln Center campus. The School of Law has emerged as one of the nation's leading legal institutions. Graduates of our Schools of Business Administration occupy positions of leadership in every part of the City's economy. Our Graduate School of Education is one of the largest — and most reliable — contributors to the corps of professional teachers and administrators serving in New York's public schools. Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service has a long tradition of community work. Graduate professional students from the Schools of Social Service and Education have provided more than 184,100 hours of professional service each year on a citywide basis as part of their training, with about half of those total hours (94,500) performed at locations in Manhattan.
But to meet the needs of our students — and of New York — we must grow physically. Fordham has barely 100 Gross Square Feet (GSF) of space per student, while comparable institutions have more than 350 GSF per student. Back in 1961 when it opened, Fordham's Lincoln Center campus was designed to handle approximately 3,500 students. Nearly 50 years later, more than 8,000 students are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at our burgeoning West Side campus. In the coming two decades, we expect to see our Manhattan student population increase to 10,500.
Fortunately, our expansion needs can be accommodated entirely within the boundaries of our Lincoln Center site. This means we will not need to acquire additional property in the surrounding West Side community. In fact, the new vision for our Lincoln Center campus, once realized, will allow us to vacate much of the 150,000 square feet that we now rent in nearby office buildings.
Fordham's historic mission has been to provide affordable, quality education to students of modest backgrounds. The University has had a relatively limited endowment compared to many other major research universities. Fordham's Lincoln Center operation has been space poor for many years. Our plan will enable us to change that equation, in part, by selling a modest, unused portion of our West Side superblock for private residential development. Proceeds from that sale will provide critical funding for the construction of the rest of the Lincoln Center campus.
Here are a few facts about our building plans:
Fordham's Lincoln Center campus currently includes only 791,075 zoning square feet (ZSF) of developed space — yet the city's zoning code permits the University to construct nearly 3.02 million ZSF on the site. Given that envelope, we have developed a carefully thought-out, 24-year building plan that envisions approximately 1.26 million ZSF of classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, theatre for the dramatic arts and other academic facilities, plus 506,238 ZSF of new dormitories, for a total increase of 1.77 million ZSF developed to use in carrying out Fordham's mission.
Finally, the plan includes 701,073 ZSF of private, residential space that will occupy the northwest and southwest corners of the campus. In total, the plan will add 2.47 million ZSF of space to the Lincoln Center campus zoning lot.
Fordham will also build 470 new parking spaces in two below-grade garages to service the University and the private residential developments. The entrance for most of the spaces will be on West 62nd Street.
The first building of the first phase of the Master Plan will be a new Law
School, including a residence hall on the upper floors. We expect construction
to begin in 2010 and take approximately three years to complete.
The remaining projects are currently scheduled for completion in the final phase, including:
- A Graduate School of Business with dormitory space;
- Buildings for Graduate Schools of Social Services and Education, with dormitory space;
- New above-ground space for the Quinn Library;
- A Theatre for the Dramatic Arts;
- Final addition to the Graduate Schools of Education and Social Work (following demolition of the current Law School building, which will be in continuous use throughout the Lincoln Center campus development process).
The new Lincoln Center campus will also include active street uses available to the surrounding community such as a gallery, bookstore and café.
Our new and expanded Lincoln Center campus will play a crucial role in raising Fordham's profile and providing essential services to its students and the New York City community. It will enable us to attract fresh academic talent and a broader group of students, allowing Fordham to make an even greater contribution to the life and economy of New York City.
The new campus will:
- Open the campus to the public with attractive new entryways on Columbus Avenue, 60th Street and 62nd Street;
- Create a family of buildings that complement each other architecturally. The designs will fit into the context of the surrounding neighborhood;
- Give each school on the campus its own architectural identity;
- Provide a primary campus entrance along Columbus Avenue;
- Cluster academic uses toward Columbus Avenue (9th Ave.) and residential uses toward Amsterdam Avenue (10th Avenue);
- Enhance open space at the level of the existing plaza and maintain it as open public space during daylight hours;
- Reorient the University's library, now buried underground, making it a visible and central focus of the campus;
- Locate the campus' mechanical system below the plaza or "podium" so it can be more conveniently accessed from the streets rather than the avenues.
The Approval Process:
There will be public hearings at Community Board 7, the Borough President's Office, The New York City Planning Commission, and finally at the New York City Council. Fordham's proposed development for the Lincoln Center campus is "as of right" with regard to use and floor area. The plan will need special permits to waive some height, setback and minimum distance requirements, and to allow the creation of new parking spaces. The University is not asking for any additional floor area, or changes in use, beyond what is permitted under current zoning. Fordham is only asking for relaxation and waiver of certain specified height, setback and the minimum distance regulations for its buildings. The University may also seek future funding for the project through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). In addition, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be provided and certified for the plan to proceed.