New York University has decided to relocate its proposed 38-story tower from the controversial location in the middle of the landmarked Silver Towers complex and will instead attempt to build the tower in the Morton Williams supermarket space on Laguardia Place. Did the intense community opposition change the school's mind? Not so much—but famed architect I.M. Pei, who designed Silver Towers, seemed to!
According to City Room, "Mr. Pei’s approval was seen as important in winning Landmarks’ ratification. The architect, who is 93, originally had no qualms about the plan, but now has second thoughts, according to the university. 'Mr. Pei has now had a change of heart,' said Lynne Brown, N.Y.U.’s senior vice president. 'The clarity Mr. Pei has now provided — that the Morton Williams site is ‘preferable’ — is helpful to us in understanding how to proceed.'"
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, said, "I am deeply gratified that in the face of overwhelming opposition, including from architect I.M. Pei, NYU has chosen to withdraw its plans for landmarks approval for a 400 ft. tall tower in the Silver Towers complex. However, NYU's insistence on moving ahead with seeking public approvals for its alternative plans for a development on the adjacent non-landmarked supermarket site, as well as the remainder of its massive NYU 2031 expansion plan to add 2 million square feet of space around Washington Square Park, shows that the university still does not get it. NYU should be looking to places like the Financial District to absorb its massive planned growth -- where it would be contextual and welcomed by leaders of that community. We will continue to strongly oppose NYU's massive overdevelopment plans in our neighborhood."
GVHSP pushed for Silver Towers' landmarking, but some critics said Silver Towers caused its own set of problems for the neighborhood.