Despite pushback from the community and a lawsuit, NYU is moving forward with its massive 2031 expansion plan and today released the renderings for the 23-story facility that will replace the former Coles Sports Center at Houston and Mercer Streets.

The City Council approved construction at 181 Mercer in 2012, and demolition of Coles began this August. According to NYU, the building—which will cost $1 billion to build—will likely be completed by 2021 and will house new classrooms, performing arts and training spaces, a new athletic facility, student and faculty housing, and around 7,500 square feet of space for a public atrium and community uses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the building features a glass exterior designed to "connect the campus to the community" that rejected the university's expansion plan from the outset.

"It is a shift from an opaque box to something that is very much transparent to every pedestrian and everyone in the neighborhood," Richard Maimon, a partner at KieranTimberlake, the firm designing the building, told the Journal.


In addition to public space, 181 Mercer will include a pedestrian walkway that will run between the new building and University Village.

Obviously, not everyone is happy with the renderings. "The notion that covering a 300-foot-long building in glass is going to make it less intrusive is ridiculous and sounds like the proverbial lipstick on a pig," Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told the Journal.

The 735,000-square-foot building will be the largest academic building ever constructed by NYU. It will house approximately 60 classrooms, three theaters, an orchestra ensemble space and practice rooms, and an underground gym with a six-lane pool.

It will also be topped by a green roof with a 275-foot tower for faculty housing and two smaller towers that will house 420 (heh) freshmen.