BREAKING: NY Court of Appeals Upholds Eminent Domain
Written by Bwog Staff
The New York Times reports that the NY Court of Appeals has just released its unanimous ruling to uphold eminent domain for Columbia, clearing Columbia’s way to the 17-acre, $6.3 billion project. The court based its ruling on the Empire State Development Corporation’s proof of blight in the neighborhood. Read more about the Court of Appeals and the case itself here, and more general background on Manhattanville here. The original AP story is here.
PrezBo issued the following statement: “We are gratified by the Court’s unanimous decision and look forward to moving ahead with the long-term revitalization of these blocks in Manhattanville that will create thousands of good jobs for New Yorkers and help our City and State remain a global center of pioneering academic research.”
Nothing new from PrezBo, but a whole lot new for Mahattanville. The Court of Appeals’ ruling eliminates the major legal obstacle from Columbia’s West Harlem expansion plans. Now, it seems, this is actually going to happen.
Update, 2:45: Some more comments from both sides: the EDSC released a statement saying that the ruling “confirms that the project complies with New York State law in all respects and that the acquisition of the holdout properties is essential to realizing the vision for the Manhattanville campus as it was approved by the state.” The EDSC also noted that the Manhattanville expansion will create thousands of construction jobs for local residents.
Sarah Martin, the chair of the Grant Houses Tenant Association and a member of the Local Development Corporation, was not so pleased, but not surprised, either. “I’m not surprised because of the powers that be,” she told Bwog, “[the expansion] goes against all that is holy as far as I’m concerned. As Robert Jackson says, Columbia is like a 400-pound gorilla stomping through our community.”
Read the full NYT article here, which includes a quote from the property owners’ lawyer, Norman Spiegel, expressing that he is “extremely disappointed” with the ruling, and the Court of Appeals’ reference to its previous Atlantic Yards ruling in relation to Manhattanville: “We ruled for Atlantic Yards, and if we could rule in favor of a basketball arena, surely we could rule for a nonprofit university.”