Columbia Wants to Demolish Buildings, State Commission Says No

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Despite the success of eminent domain efforts, Columbia’s real estate war appears to never cease. Now, they’ve come into conflict with the State Historic Preservation Office, which has created a new historic area of Morningside Heights that includes three buildings Columbia intended to demolish.

The three buildings, 408, 410, and 412 West 115th Street (Google Maps link), are “some of the earliest built multiunit residential buildings that still stand in Morningside Heights.” Preferring to unleash its inner Shiva as soon as possible, Columbia announced plans over the summer “to raze these buildings while it considers future uses for the site.” 69th District Assemblyman (and possible Senate appointee) Daniel O’Donnell, however, successfully included the buildings inside the new “Morningside Drive Historic District,” which includes portions of Morningside Drive, 115th, and 116th Streets.

If Columbia’s looking for another building to demolish, Bwog humbly suggests the brick-and-cinderblock eyesore otherwise known as Mudd.

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  1. you guys  

    are dumb. mudd's not so bad. its uris, engineering terrace, fairchild, and carman that are ths campus's real eyesores.

  2. Alum

    I've wondered for years what would become of those buildings. They've been around for a while, but that's only one of several factors to be considered. I'm in no position to judge their historic value. Personally, I don't think they're attractive. I'm others think they are.

    The brownstones are next to a vacant lot which Columbia owns. The combined parcels could hold a very substantial CU building. They're also directly behind a building Columbia bought from St. Luke's several years ago (and which had been an undergrad dorm until Columbia sold in in the early '80s). That building clearly isn't very important, either historically or aesthetically. If it and the three brownstones were razed, the result would be a very large space which could easily hold a 150,000 square-foot building (about the size of Hartley and Wallach combined). The building could be even larger, but a larger structure would be taller than most of the apartment buildings in the area and thus might not be allowed in a historic district.

  3. anon

    who thinks they're attractive? I dare you! Or . . . can anyone ascribe any architectural value to them? Are they an exemplar of anything, other than cheap, common prewar construction. My grandmother also owns an old, decrepit shack out in new hampshire. It's one of the first built in the area, but looks just like thousands of others . She wants to knock it down. The chutzpa.

  4. ...

    "some of the earliest built multiunit residential buildings that still stand in Morningside Heights"

    that's such a bullshit reason to deem it historic... there's a reason they are the only one standings... none of them were worth keeping up

  5. Hmmm

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but a state historic designation doesn't prevent Columbia from demolishing those buildings... an NYC LPC designation could, but such a thing has not happened.

  6. Uh...

    I'm assuming this writer would REPLACE Mudd as well as demolish it?

    The wording is a bit confusing here...

  7. ...

    btw, is this the same O'donnel thats related to Rosie O'Donnel? If so, annoyingness is clearly in the genetic pool

  8. whattheylldo  

    they'll knock the buildings down, but keep the facades. everybody wins!

  9. well  

    If I'm not mistkaen those buildings are just grad student/law student housing right now.

    • Alum

      You're probably thinking of the apartment buildings on the north side of 115th. These particular buildings are the brownstones on the south side, right behind Womens Hospital. As far as I know they're empty.

  10. that's funny

    I haven't heard O'Donnell mentioned as a Senate appointee--by anyone, anywhere. Care to source this one, Bwog? I mean shit, theoretically anyone in NY could get the appointment....

  11. demolish mudd?

    How about I demolish your mom's anus instead?

  12. BHO

    I wish they would demolish Uris, or at least turn it into something useful. The apartment buildings in question are indeed very ugly, and the idea of calling them "landmarks" is idiotic. That said, they are homes for many people.

    • Alum

      In the NYSHPO's defense, calling something a landmark does not mean it's considered attractive. Many other factors can make a building worthy of landmark status.

      I mentioned the buildings' lack of attractiveness in comment #2, but I did not mean to suggest that they were landmarked because of their appearance.

  13. blue

    Ok, but I have always believed the purpose of "landmark" status to be the cultural enrichment of a community. I don't see how a housing project in any way serves that end. By the standard applied, every warehouse in Brooklyn should be declared a national park.

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