[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-Some of the city’s biggest landlords and developers are its learning institutions. Among them, Columbia University and New York University–both involved in major expansion plans here–have been hotly debated in their respective communities. Philip Pitruzzello, VP for Manhattanville Capital Construction with Columbia University ,and Lynne Brown, SVP for University Relations and Public Affairs at NYU, provided the Association of Real Estate Women’s luncheon attendees Tuesday with the status of their six-million-sf projects as well as a better understanding of how institutions look at finding new space.

“It takes a lot of observation,” Brown explained. “Planning expansions for institutions takes a long time. It’s not about doing a deal and then getting out.”

[IMGCAP(2)]Pitruzzello echoed Brown’s views, adding that university buys are not about a “build and flip,” they take time. “Universities love their real estate. Columbia has been around 250 years and expects to be there for another 250 years.” He continued that the Manhattanville in West Harlem project has been five years in the making. “There is something very fundamental about the needs to expand,” he said. “It’s long-term, well-planned and far reaching.”

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