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Union outrage notwithstanding, NYU will soon begin remaking the former Transit HQ at 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn and transform it into the state-of-the-art Center for Urban Science and Progress, and today the Times takes a look at the building that many have simply labeled an eyesore. The point of the column is that “it’s quite possible to respect it as a work of architecture. It speaks clearly of the period after World War II when America set out to sweep away the cobwebs of the past even as it perpetuated the memory of those who fought and died just a few years earlier.” The 1951-vintage building has been hailed by some architectural historians as a great example of municipal, modernist architecture. NYU says it intends to pursue “adaptive reuse” in terms of transforming the building, and the article notes that all those snazzy renderings we’ve seen so far have been by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. What won’t stay in the building, though, is the “18-foot-long bas-relief granite map in the open-air entrance arcade listed the transportation workers who had served in the recent war, showing — with five-pointed stars set into the stone — where 24 of them died.” McBrooklyn, which took the photo above, had an appreciative post about the map. According to the Times, the MTA will oversee its relocation.
Remaking a Building to Make It Easier to Love [NY Times]
Downtown Brooklyn-NYU Deal: Victory Lap Edition [Brownstoner]
Photo by McBrooklyn

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Plans to re-purpose the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn—which the city owns but the MTA has a long-term lease on and wants a lot of money ($50-60 million, reportedly) to accept a buyout of the lease from the city—were in the news a lot over the winter, but there hasn’t been much word about the negotiations in some time. Despite the fact that NYU was a bridesmaid when it came to the city’s big tech campus plans for Roosevelt Island, the university still seems intent on revamping the structure and using it as a tech-oriented grad school. Yesterday State Senator Daniel Squadron sent out a press release on the matter, perhaps to bring it back into the limelight: “For years, the nearly-abandoned former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street has limited Downtown Brooklyn’s extraordinary potential,” said Senator Squadron in the release. “The MTA-EDC announcement of RFPs for seven other underutilized MTA properties throughout the City is a reminder that now is the time to finally make full use of 370 Jay. I’ll continue to push to make NYU-Poly’s Center for Urban Science & Progress a reality – which would put 370 Jay to use, allow Downtown Brooklyn to continue to grow and thrive, and move New York forward on its path of innovation.” Of course the plan does sound like a no-brainer and as though it would have enormous potential to continue Downtown Brooklyn’s revitalization, but the money’s the rub.
Negotiations Continue for NYU Takeover of 370 Jay [Brownstoner] GMAP
Politicians Rally for NYU’s Overhaul of 370 Jay Street [Brownstoner]
NYU’s Plans for 370 Jay Street May Still Happen [Brownstoner]
Details About NYU’s Designs on 370 Jay [Brownstoner]

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Crain’s reports that NYU’s proposal to turn Downtown Brooklyn’s 370 Jay Street into a tech-oriented grad school has a decent chance of happening. According to the article, the city, which owns the building, and the MTA, which has a long-term lease on the property, are in favor of the university’s plans. The deal hinges upon upon the MTA getting a buyout offer that makes financial sense in terms of uprooting “vital communications equipment” from the building, and the price tag is said to be in the $50-$60 million ballpark. Although the extent to which the city would be able to help NYU financially in terms of the acquisition is unclear, a spokesman for the school says NYU is “optimistic about a good outcome.”
NYU Nears Deal on Tech Campus [Crain’s]

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Yesterday a bunch of politicians held a rally in support of NYU’s proposal to build out a grad school at 370 Jay Street, the former MTA building in Downtown Brooklyn that’s been in sorry shape for years. The group, which included Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman and Councilwoman Letitia James, said the city should allocate funds to the university as a runner-up winner in the competition Cornell was named the winner of earlier this week. Markowitz said that while Cornell’s plans to build a science center on Roosevelt Island are “wonderful,” according to the Daily News, “370 Jay Street is practically empty, doing nothing now but housing some switches.” Squadron noted that compared to Cornell’s plans, the NYU rehab of 370 Jay could be accomplished “for pennies on the dollar.” NYU is looking for $20-$25 million in city funding for the proposed grad center. Councilwoman James said Brooklyn should be about more than “basketball and burgers,” according to the Eagle, and that it should also be about “books and brains.” The mayor has said that funding for a proposal other than Cornell’s could be decided on within the next few weeks.
Rally Boosts Science Center At 370 Jay St [Eagle]
Brooklyn Pols Still Pushing for NYU Downtown Brooklyn Plan [NY Daily News]
NYU’s Plans for 370 Jay Street May Still Happen [Brownstoner]

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Yesterday the city announced that it had selected Cornell’s proposal for a new campus on Roosevelt Island, but that may not mean that NYU’s proposal to build out a grad school at 370 Jay Street is dead, according to the Eagle. The city says it’s still considering proposals from institutions other than Cornell, and NYU’s president released a statement saying the school is “enthusiastically continuing our talks with the city on establishing a new applied sciences institute in Brooklyn.” NYU wants to renovate the former MTA building at 370 Jay and turn it into a grad school called the Center for Urban Science and Progress, as rendered above.
Don’t Count NYU Out for Tech Center [Eagle]

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The Daily News has a story with more information about how NYU wants to take over the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay and turn it into a grad school: The university wants to make it a facility called the Center for Urban Science and Progress “where scientists and engineers would work on problems vexing cities around the world, from traffic congestion to energy efficiency.” NYU has submitted the proposal in the hopes that it will win the competition to construct a new science graduate school with city funds; although Stanford and Cornell’s proposals to build schools on Roosevelt Island are said to be the frontrunners in the competition, an NYU official says “It would not be very costly for the city to figure out what it’s going to do on Roosevelt Island between Stanford and Cornell, and then at 370 Jay, we’ll be fixing up a site they wanted to fix up anyway.”
NYU Eyes Former MTA Headquarters for Urban Grad School [NY Daily News]
N.Y.U. Looks to Overhaul 370 Jay [Brownstoner]

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Yesterday the MTA announced that it intends to seek a developer to take over its neglected former headquarters at 370 Jay Street. The building is owned by the city and leased to the MTA, which started vacating it in 2001. According to a spokesman for the MTA, the building’s use and whether it’s going to be sold or leased will depend on the responses to a forthcoming RFP. Politicians hailed the news. Borough President Marty Markowitz said that “the rest of Downtown Brooklyn has undergone tremendous and transformative growth, yet 370 Jay Street has remained a virtually vacant eyesore—at times obstructed by sidewalk scaffolding and an unsightly black scrim to protect passersby from the building’s crumbling facade.” And State Senator Daniel Squadron said the following, in part: “Taking 370 Jay Street out of mothballs and into use will mean dramatic progress in a keystone location for Downtown Brooklyn. I urge the city and the MTA to quickly issue an RFP in the coming weeks.”
MTA Finally Parting With Unused Brooklyn Building [Crain’s] GMAP
MTA Puts 370 Jay St. Up for Sale — At Last [Eagle]