Just around the block from the Angelika Film Center, yet another construction project is underway at 181 Mercer St. Tucked between Bleecker and Houston Streets, NYU’s latest undertaking will include new undergraduate housing, academic classrooms and athletic facilities. Scheduled to open in fall 2022, the class of 2023 will be the first to use the new amenities. The building will be the center of NYU athletics, acting as a space for student athletes to congregate, study and train.
According to NYU Athletic Director Christopher Bledsoe, the main draw of the facilities is its centralized location.
“I certainly think it will have great benefit for anybody who participates in varsity, club sports or intramurals,” Bledsoe said. “Instead of having to travel great distances within the five boroughs or even up to Westchester or Fairfield County, Connecticut just to practice […] that’ll be able to happen on campus, so that will be a great benefit to all our athletes.”
These centralized facilities will include four full-length basketball and volleyball courts, a small pool, a fencing gym, an aerobics room, a cardio room, multiple weight rooms, a wrestling room and locker rooms. The athletics section of the building will also be able to hold large non-athletic convocations.
181 Mercer will be more than just a place for athletics and activities to take place, as it will free up space in the other NYU athletics buildings — Palladium Athletic Facility, 404 Fitness and the Brooklyn Athletic Facility. This will allow many sports at all levels from varsity to intramural to move their practices and games closer to campus.
“We want to, as much as possible, turn that into an activity space and not an office space,” Bledsoe said.
In order to accomplish this, many of the offices for coaches and athletics department officials will be across the street in 194 Mercer, which is already a space for offices and classrooms. This strategy was also used in the old facilities at the Coles Sports Center, which was at 181 Mercer’s location until 2015.
Bledsoe, as well as Matt Huck, Assistant Athletic Director for business and club sports, anticipates that the new athletic facilities will be mostly used by the teams that trained in the Coles Sports Center. Most indoor sports will also host some practices at 181 Mercer, and the space will also function as a place for some indoor preseason practices for field sports.
“[181 Mercer] gives the university something that we haven’t had since the old 181,” Bledsoe said. “And that’s a large, central athletic space where teams and coaches and the community will come together and share space with each other on a day by day, hour by hour basis.”
A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 print edition. Email Benjamin Michael Davis at [email protected]