On Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010, the Supreme Court of the State of New York dismissed the Article 78 suit filed by the Alfred Condominium to halt development of Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.
The development plan, approved by the New York City Council in June, 2009, allows Fordham to add six new buildings and 1.5 million square feet of academic and dormitory space within the current boundaries of the Lincoln Center campus.
“The plan could not move forward until we cleared this hurdle,” said Joseph M. McShane, S. J., president of Fordham. “While further litigation is always a possibility, this legal judgment is a very important one for the University. The Lincoln Center campus must grow to accommodate the needs of our students and faculty, and the needs of the city we call our campus.”
The suit was brought by the board of directors of the Alfred Condominium, which The New York Timescalls “a 38-story luxury tower,” on West 61st Street. In dismissing the suit, Judge Judith J. Gische wrote “[The Alfred] has failed to show that the City respondents’ actions, decisions and determinations which were voted on and approved by the City Council June 30, 2009 were made in violation of lawful procedure. The approval had a rational basis.”
The economic impact of Fordham’s Lincoln Center development plan—modified extensively in negotiations with local community members and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer—includes an estimated millions of dollars a year in tax revenue for the city generated from the residential buildings to be built by private developers. Additionally, the plan will mean $1.6 billion in construction over the life of the project, and 4,500 to 5,000 construction jobs over its term, with about 520 permanent and 200 contract jobs.
The first phase of the plan includes construction of a new Law School, a priority for the University’s capital campaign, Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham. The new Law building includes a dormitory on its upper floors. The remainder of the initial phase includes a new student center, dormitory and interim public park/plaza on Columbus Avenue.
The plan’s final phase will include a Graduate School of Business Administration with dormitory space; buildings for the Graduate Schools of Social Services and Education, with dormitory space; a new above-ground space for the Quinn Library; and a Theatre for the Dramatic Arts. A final addition will be made 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).
“Many people have labored to bring about this success—too many to mention—but I must single out vice presidents Brian Byrne and Tom Dunne for their tireless advocacy and mastery of both the political and technical details of this project,” Father McShane said. “Likewise the testimony and support of the deans and faculty of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Law School, and the Graduate Schools of Business Administration, Education and Social Service was invaluable. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our legal counsel, Deirdre Carson Esq., of Greenberg Traurig. This day could not have come without her.”