Yesterday, permits were filed for Collegiate School’s new campus at 301 Freedom Place South. The street does not yet exist, as it will be built as part of the new Riverside Center, but the location is between West 61st and 62nd Streets, just below Riverside South.
The building will stand 10 stories and 143 feet tall, with an area measuring 124,000 square feet, allowing Collegiate ample room to grow.
Now, YIMBY has a video detailing the school’s plans, which also includes several new renderings of the development. While permits indicate Kohn Pedersen Fox is the architect of record, GLUCK+ is the project’s design architect, and Tom and Peter Gluck feature in the video around the 7:30 mark, along with the plans for the site.
The Upper West Side is a particularly hostile neighborhood to new development, and the current surplus of elderly residents means new schools are no exception to local opposition (and even nursing homes are equally prone to outrage and ire). DNA Info reported that expansions for both Collegiate and Trinity were rejected by Community Board 7 this past June, despite the minor request from Trinity and the lack of neighbors surrounding Collegiate’s new location.
This is no surprise considering the Upper West Side’s recent history, as plans for new schools were also rejected at two other sites in the neighborhood back in early 2013. Naturally the concerns of a few selfish residents outweighed the benefits and advantages that new facilities would have provided to New York’s best and brightest, putting them at a disadvantage relative to peers who can learn in state-of-the-art environments.
In opposing the new schools, former council member and now borough president Gale Brewer stated “I’m not sure I want another tall building on the West Side.”
Perhaps the neighborhood’s changes since then best illuminate the nonsensicality and futility of this position. Immediately across the street from P.S. 191, a 600-foot building has since been completed, and another 48-story tower is currently under construction. These plans were already approved at the time of the faux-outrage, and illuminate a toxic political process that caters to loud obstructionists, rather than what’s best for communities.
Fortunately, NIMBYs enjoy less leeway when it comes to Collegiate’s future location, given it is part of a completely new ground-up development that is also lacking in neighbors. While that did not stop the members of CB7 from voting against the project, the new DOB filings are a sign that it should be moving forward shortly, and CB votes are advisory anyways, with ultimate decisions coming from City Planning — which is generally immune from activist rhetoric.
Per DNA Info’s report, Collegiate’s plan for 301 Freedom Place South is aiming for a tentative completion date of 2017.
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