181 Mercer building opening delayed again until spring 2023

The opening of NYU’s flagship development, which will include housing, classrooms, athletic facilities and a theater, has been postponed twice due to construction delays related to COVID-19.

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Gabe Vasconcellos

The 181 Mercer Street building has postponed its opening to 2023 due to labor shortages and supply chain issues. In addition to its residence towers, the building will host a range of amenities including athletic facilities, classrooms and theater space. (Photo by Gabe Vasconcellos)

Carmo Moniz, Deputy News Editor

The opening of NYU’s new 181 Mercer Street building has been postponed until spring 2023, according to NYU spokesperson Shonna Keogan. The university previously announced that the building would be ready for occupancy by November 2022, but construction halts, labor shortages and supply chain issues have delayed its opening date.

“Understandably, we are all excited by the prospect of the completion of 181 Mercer Street; the construction proceeds apace — as you can probably see, with the exterior now almost entirely enclosed,” Keogan wrote in a statement to WSN. “This updated timeframe applies to all components of the building.”

The latest delay is not the first time that the construction of the flagship development has been stalled. NYU previously postponed the building’s opening from spring 2022 to fall 2022 for similar reasons as the most recent postponement. 

The 735,000-square-foot building will include student and faculty housing, 58 classrooms, a 350-seat theater, practice rooms, athletic facilities, study spaces and common areas, according to NYU’s website. Due to classroom shortages, NYU currently leases classroom space outside of university buildings, such as in a St. John’s University building on Astor Place. Keogan said that NYU will consider classroom assignments and fall enrollment in its decision to renew its rental of the St. John’s building for the fall 2022 semester.

The opening of 181 Mercer housing will coincide with the construction on Rubin Hall during the 2023-24 academic year and Goddard Hall’s transition to housing the sociology department in summer 2024. NYU said the planned construction and relocation timeline will help maintain student housing availability.

The 181 Mercer building has been met with opposition from SoHo and NoHo residents since it was proposed as part of what was then called NYU Plans 2031 over 14 years ago. Many local residents and local neighborhood organizations have expressed concerns about the building throughout its construction, including that the design is poorly suited for the block it occupies and the building will displace the nearby Morton Williams supermarket.

In a March 7 update on 181 Mercer’s construction progress, NYU said the removal of all exterior hoists — equipment to lift and lower construction loads — is expected to be completed during the spring 2022 semester, along with the installation of the building’s facade. The removal of the exterior hoists started on the Houston Street side of the building on Saturday, March 5. The Green Street side is scheduled to have its exterior hoists dismantled this week.

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected]