Jul

18

Eminent Domain Might Be Imminent

Written by

So yesterday the Empire State Development Corp. voted to approve Columbia’s $6.28 billion expansion expansion into Manhattanville. 

In doing so, the state designated the area as blighted, which is necessary in order to invoke eminent domain

The decision came as a result of a blight study by AKRF Inc., which found that Manhattanville consisted of “aging, poorly maintained and functionally obsolete industrial buildings with little indication of recent reinvestment to revive their generally deteriorated condition.” 

Critics of the decision have pointed out that New York hired the same firm to conduct this assessment as Columbia hired to conduct a separate environmental analysis of the area.

Governor David Paterson, CC ’77, gave the expansion two Light Blue thumbs up, saying: “This project underscores Columbia’s commitment to its neighbors by providing benefits to many segments of the local community. […] Columbia, my alma matter, continues to be a vital part of this city and State.”

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33 Comments

  1. first  

    manhattanville is a dump

  2. more

    blighted than potatoes in 1845

  3. correction?

    "Governor David Paterson, CC '77, was gave the expansion"

    one of these thins does not belong

  4. see kids?

    hunger strikes can change the world.

  5. hip hip

    huzZAH

    And you know something, having David Patterson behind it actually makes me feel better. But does anyone know if it will reach as far as 135th st? I just helped a friend move a hell of a lot of stuff into one of Sprayregen's storage facilities (he's a douche, but it was close by) and I really, really don't want to have to move it out again.

  6. Fact Check

    6.2 square miles? Guys, that would be roughly 1/4 the size of Manhattan. The site is roughly 17 acres, or .027 square miles.

    • Also

      This was a preliminary approval, not a final one. The vote itself will take place in the fall after a public hearing (though yes, the outcome is pretty predictable).

    • yes, but

      if each building is about 230 floors, that would be 6.2 sq miles of space. DUH!

      Also, "aging...poor[ly]...functionally obsolete...generally deteriorated..." are you sure they were talking about the buildings and not the residents? OH! PWNED x2.

  7. Coolest kid  

    Your mom's groin is blighted. Her facilities are industrially obsolete.

  8. struggles

    Well I declare the Columbia literary scene to be BWIGHTED.

  9. yes!!!!

    i am so happy about this!

  10. hooray

    for buildings that will affect me in no possible way.

  11. shit!

    columbia is so blatantly corrupt

  12. confused  

    somebody please explain this to me: if columbia has a $7.5 billion endowment, where are they getting $6 billion for the expansion?

    • lkm  

      It's not like Columbia is writing a $6 billion dollar check soon. This construction will be happening over a projected period of 22 years (does anyone think a project of this magnitude in New York City and done by Columbia will be done on time?). Let's say it takes 30 years. 6 billion over thirty years is about 200 million a year. IDK what the return rate Columbia gets on the endowment is but let's say it's 6 percent = 450 million a year in interest. They can afford to pull this huge construction project off using the yearly growth of the giant piggy bank.

      I'm sure it's more complicated than that with future expected interest rates but, still.

    • Alum

      There's not much relationship between a university's endowment and its long-term construction budgets, since endowments are generally reserved for other things. Construction is usually financed with long-term bonds; the bonds are then paid back with donations and other revenue (including some tuition money). Usually there will be some major donations before a building is greenlighted in order to ensure a solid financial footing for the project; other donations usually come in while the building is going up and soon after it opens.

      Keep in mind that the neuroscience building is already fully funded (or nearly so) by the $200M+ gift from Jerome and Dawn Greene.

      he bond revenue that goes toward the residential buildings will largely be repaid from the occupants' rent. Rental income from the retailers will help pay down some of the other bonds. Parking revenue will help pay for the underground portions of the project.

      Besides, it's not like Columbia is going to spend the entire $6.28 billion in one year. Spread out over 20 years it would be $314 million annually, which is about what the university spends now on facilities (including new construction, renovation and purchases). Existing buildings will still have to be renovated while M'ville is under construction, but the annual facilities budget won't increase as drastically as you might suppose.

  13. alum

    hooray! manifest destiny lives! go (slightly) north, young student!

  14. The Narrator

    Somewhere Bob Kasdin is standing alone, looking out his window into the Manhattanville valley, lighting a cigar to complement the brandy he poured himself only moments before, and, quietly he laughs a mirthless laugh to himself...

  15. numero 7

    HA wait for serious? That's hilarious. It was purely shitty grammar; I was talking about Nick Sprayregen. Who the hell is Steve? Tell us more.

  16. Stephan Schwartz

    Hey - construction is expensive.

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