And like the Borg, NYU continues to assimilate lower Manhattan. "More students have indicated they want to live closer to the Unions Square area," NYU vice president for residential education Tom Ellett told the Washington Square News, so "it will become a hub of of the University." Resistance is futile. As if to prove the point, NYU now plans to build a dorm at the site of St. Ann's Church (110 E. 12th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues). Keeping the facade they would build a 190,000 square-foot residence hall, with air rights from the Post Office on the corner. And unlike some of their other recent dorms (2nd street dorm we're looking at you) NYU is actually saying they are going to buy this one after its built instead of leasing it.
But isn't there anyone or thing that can stop this? What about that other big real estate player, Roman Catholic Church? In fact, they just might. Seems that when the New York Diocese sold St. Ann's to the Hudson Companies last year they included moral deed restrictions on the site (let's call it the Limelight clause). Basically, among other things, nobody in the property can "perform any professional counseling or advice advocating abortions or family planning." That includes signs advertising such services. Which considering the famously morally vague nature of some of NYU's students, could make such rules difficult to stick to. Sadly, however, NYU doesn't seem to put off by the restrictions. In fact they feel that "the activities that typically occur in a dormitory would not be inconsistent with either the spirit or the language of the covenant." Oy.
Photo from Curbed.