NEW YORK CITY-A portion of the funding for Columbia University’s planned expansion into Manhattanville is coming from a handful of well-heeled alumni. Add Arthur Samberg and Mario Gabelli to a list of Columbia Business School alumni, including Henry Kravis and Ronald Perelman, who have made multimillion-dollar pledges to finance construction of the school’s new facilities; the school said Monday that Samberg and Gabelli had pledged a total of $40 million.
“I had the good fortune to attend a number of elite schools, but many people don’t have the advantages I had,” says Samberg, manager of Hawkes Financial Services LLC and a member of Acadia Woods Partners LLC, who pledged $25 million. “In supporting Columbia Business School, I’m helping others, who didn’t grow up in the same environment, get a chance to advance.”
Gabelli, chairman and CEO of GABCO Partners, pledged $15 million. He and Samberg are members of the school’s board of overseers.
The two commitments came roughly two months after Perelman donated $100 million toward the project. He’ll have one of the new business school buildings, which total about 450,000 square feet, named in his honor. Kravis’ 2010 gift, at the time the largest in the university’s history, also came to $100 million and he too will have one of the new buildings named for him.
Comparable in scope to New York University’s planned expansion in Greenwich Village and elsewhere, Columbia’s Manhattanville project covers 17 acres in West Harlem. It consists primarily of the four large blocks from 129th to 133rd Streets between Broadway and Twelfth Avenue, including the north side of 125th Street, as well as three properties on the east side of Broadway from 131st to 134th streets.
The project will not add dormitory space, but will encompass more than 6.8 million square feet of space for teaching, research, underground parking and support services. It will feature new facilities for civic, cultural, recreational and commercial activity.