adoptedexpansion

|

The expansion project, which is expected to add up to 6.8million sf of new facilities in up to 16 new buildings, hascontinued to gain some opposition from local Harlem residents, whoworry about displacement. Many of the speakers at the two-dayhearing opposed the plan. If eminent domain is used, all but twobuildings in the area between Broadway and 12th Avenue and 125thand 133rd streets, will reportedly be bulldozed.

|

[IMGCAP(2)]The two hearings Thursday at Aaron Davis Hall of CityCollege consisted of testimony by community activists, residents,and Columbia students. Some community activists spoke out againstthe possibility of eminent domain in the area. An anonymous localreal estate attorney, not involved in the proposed project,previously told GlobeSt.com that the ESDC will invoke its eminentdomain power to assist the University in acquiring the remainingproperties that it does not already own if need be. In that case,"those who are holding out for whatever reason," the source said,"will be forced to sell to the ESDC." The source noted thatobviously there will be an outcry as there has already been foryears.

|

Former Community Board 9 Chair Maritta Dunn pointed toconstruction inconveniences. "These people, many of whom haveraised their children and contributed to the stability of thisneighborhood, have to live with the errors, oversights, andpurposeful misjudgments of those who purport to have their interestin mind," she said. However, there were attendees who offeredtestimony in favor of Columbia's plan and instead focused on thepositives it will bring for the neighborhood and well as the jobsit will create.

|

According to published reports, if the board approves Columbia'srequest for eminent domain rights in 17 acres adjacent to theHudson River, "the area would be transformed from a low-rise,light-industrial neighborhood with century-old buildings to asleek, glass-walled extension of the university's campus that willhouse its business and arts schools and a science building."

|

An ESDC source tells GlobeSt.com that the public heading, whichwas held in four sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, "is but onesegment of the testimony period which ends Friday Oct. 10th. Thesource explains that although the ESDC board was not present at thehearing, transcripts and copies of all the testimony will beprovided to the board for review. He notes that present at bothhearings were senior ESDC officials. The ESDC board reportedlyplans to review written testimony before voting at the end of thisyear.

|

When the ESDC adopted the Manhattanville plan in July, the ESDCboard accepted the findings of a neighborhood conditions studyconducted by the consulting firm AKRF Inc. and an audit of thatstudy by Earth Tech Inc. "Both reports found that the areasurrounding the project's 17 buildings was mainly characterized byaging, poorly maintained and functionally obsolete industrialbuildings, with little indication of recent reinvestment to revivetheir generally deteriorated conditions," according to a preparedstatement. The ESDC's mission is to "provide the assistance andservice to businesses in order to encourage economic investment andprosperity in New York State." As part of that mission, accordingto an anonymous urban affairs professional in New York City, amongother things, "the agency can override zoning, exercise eminentdomain and condemn property.

|

An urban affairs professional previously told GlobeSt.com thatsometimes, people lose site of a critically important aspect abouta city's survival. "Columbia University is an extremely importantpart of the 21st century. Cities are about intellectual power, andif you don't have the institutions in that city growing andthriving, they will have more of a difficulty of advancing." Thesource continued that "every now and then, the Government has tolook beyond the immediate neighborhoods and look at the bigpicture."

|

According to Columbia's statement, "the University has workedsuccessfully over the past few years to negotiate fair deals withall of the other private landowners in Manhattanville area—many ofwhom speak enthusiastically of Columbia's good faith and fairdealing in meeting their economic and business needs, and helpingthem find convenient new locations that will keep jobs in New YorkCity. The University remains committed to reaching mutuallybeneficial agreements with the two remaining commercial propertyowners on these blocks if they will agree to do so."

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.