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February 25, 2007

Columbia launches land-grab plan

NY Daily News

That clash between town and gown is part of a land battle that has erupted over Manhattanville, a 17-acre industrial parcel near the Hudson River that's bigger than the site of the World Trade Center.

Columbia wants to tear down most of the low-rise buildings, and relocate the low-income inhabitants and blue-collar workers. Over a 25-year period, it would build a gleaming $7 billion super-campus, creating 6.8 million square feet of space by 2030 to ensure its competitive future.

But the elite school isn't the only party worried about its future. Faced with the threat of forced evictions, eminent domain and the wrecking ball minority residents and employees in the thinly populated neighborhood are fighting back.
There are just two problems: Most of the 425 West Harlem residents, who live in 132 apartment units, don't want to move out. And many of the remaining business owners, who employ some 1,200 people, don't want to sell.

So Columbia has asked the Empire State Development Corp. to consider condemning the properties it wants through eminent domain, a controversial practice in which the state takes private properties, at fair market price, ostensibly for a public purpose.


Lucky for West Harlem that Errol Louis is not on the Columbia beat...

Posted by amy at February 25, 2007 11:41 AM