Lincoln Center Expansion Lawsuit Dismissed

Ever Upward, Ever Onward: Development Plan for FCLC Campus Gets Green Light

The expansion of FCLC will include six new buildings and 1.5 million square feet of academic and dormitory space. (Courtesy of fordham.edu)

By Nadine Deninno
News Co-Editor
Published: August 25, 2010

The lawsuit against the development plan at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) filed by its neighbor, the Alfred Condominium, was dismissed on Aug. 18 by a Supreme Court of the State of New York ruling.

Although the City Council gave final approval for the plan to advance on June 30, 2009, the suit filed by the Board of Managers at the Alfred halted the progress of the expansion plan since it was filed on Oct. 28, 2009.

Dismissal of the case was based upon a decision made by Judge Judith J. Gische, according to a press release on the Fordham website.

“[The Alfred] has failed to show that the City respondents’ actions, decisions and determinations which were voted on and approved… were made in violation of lawful procedure,” Gische said. “The approval had a rational basis.”

The development plan, entitled “Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham” was announced on April 30, 2009. It will establish six new buildings with 1.5 million square feet of academic and dormitory space inside the existing borders of FCLC.

“Dismissal of the lawsuit challenging the validity of the entire plan was an important step in reaching this goal,” said Brian J. Byrne, Ph.D., vice president for FCLC.

“The primary stage of the plan consists of the construction of a new Law School with a dormitory on its upper floors as well as a new student center, undergraduate dormitory and public parking plaza on Columbus Avenue.

Upon completion of the first stage, the plan includes a Graduate School of Business Administration with dormitory space, new buildings for the Graduate Schools of Business Administration with dormitory space, new buildings for the Graduate Schools of Social Services and Education with dorms, an above-ground space for the Quinn Library and a Theatre for the Dramatic Arts.

With the dismissal of the case, plans for the Lincoln Center campus now have a green light ahead of them.

“Fordham is moving inexorably, if more slowly than desired, to implement the first phase of the Master Plan,” Byrne said.

“As soon as possible, the University will begin construction on the new Law School and residence hall building.”

Byrne said that no further approvals are necessary at this time, but future litigation is possible.

However, Byrne said, “The court’s firm support of the process leading to the approval of the Master Plan makes further appeal less likely.”

This process after the initial master plan was designed leading to its approval was a concession between Fordham’s original blueprints and the concerns of its neighbors.

Byrne said, “This process included extensive negotiations over a prolonged period with community  representatives and elected officials to reach an acceptable compromise.”

While compromising with its Lincoln Center neighbors, the Master Plan intends to suit the needs of its growing student population.

“When these new facilities come on-line the space available at the Lincoln Center campus will increase by 50 percent, providing the opportunity to meet some of our most pressing space needs,” Byrne said.

“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,” said Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S. J., president of Fordham.

The entire Master Plan, including development on both the Lincoln Center and the Rose Hill campuses, is long term, extending to 2032, according to Byrne.

The entirety of the construction will total $1.6 billion. It will create 4,500 to 5,000 construction jobs, 520 of them permanent and 200 contract.

 

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