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Barnard Announces Purchase Of New Residence Hall

Looks pretty spiffy!

Barnard students will soon have a new place to live.

On Tuesday, COO Rob Goldberg and Co-Interim Dean of the College and Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing Alicia Lawrence sent out an email to all students detailing that Barnard has acquired a new residence hall at 537 W. 121st St, to be known simply as “121st St.” The six-story building was formerly an undergraduate dorm of the Jewish Theological Seminary and was sold in 2015 as part of a renovation project. The new dorm is located across the street from Teachers College, closer to campus than several other Barnard residence halls, including Plimpton, 110, and Cathedral Gardens.

The announcement comes as many students have been feeling that Barnard is strapped for housing. At this point, Barnard has not been able to guarantee housing accommodations for incoming transfer students and students returning from leaves of absences, leaving many with no choice but to find their own apartments. Additionally, the Barnard housing lottery is very competitive, with hundreds of students being left on the Guaranteed List each year with no way of choosing where or with whom they live. This year was particularly tough as dozens of rooms in 110, including coveted Studio Singles, were removed from the lottery as the College renegotiated its lease. Goldberg and Lawrence stated that “[a] smaller number of students will continue to live at 110th St. due to the reduction in number of studio singles and certain lines of suites.” It seems that 121st St. will seek to fill that void – especially as the College no longer appears to offer transfer housing at the Manhattan School of Music’s Andersen Hall.

The building’s capacity has not yet been revealed, and few photos of its interior are available, though it seems to include a large lounge with a kitchen and white linoleum floors typical of Barnard dorms. The email explains that, like Plimpton and 110, many of the rooms in this new building are singles off of apartment-style suites. Students on the Guaranteed List have a chance to be assigned here in the coming weeks.

The email sent to Barnard students this afternoon reads as follows:

Dear Students:

We are writing to share with you some exciting news. For a number of years, the College has been seeking to enhance our inventory of student housing. We are pleased to announce that the College has secured a new residence hall — 121st St. — located at 537 W. 121st St (at Broadway).

The majority of rooms in the building are singles, in apartment-style suites. The building will be priced at the same flat rate we charge for housing across campus and will feature free laundry, as will the other residence halls starting this fall.

Adding 121st St. to our housing inventory will enable us, over time, to better accommodate incoming transfer students and students returning from leaves of absence. It will also provide additional housing options for returning students.

While we worked to secure 121st St., the College also finalized its lease renewal at 601 W. 110th St. A smaller number of students will continue to live at 110th St. due to the reduction in number of studio singles and certain lines of suites.

In the next few weeks, the Residential Life & Housing office will provide more information about the building and the process for assigning rooms to continuing students on the Guaranteed List for the fall semester.

We hope all of you have a great summer, and we look forward to updating you on this exciting new addition to our campus in the next few weeks.

Rob Goldberg, COO

Alicia Lawrence, Co-Interim Dean of the College and Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Reminder that the Sulzbergers actively covered up the holocaust at the New York Times. Check out “Buried by the Times” by Laurel Leff to learn more.

  • CU Alum says:

    @CU Alum The headline calls this a purchase, but Barnard’s announcement says only that it has “secured” the building. That suggests they are leasing it., but I hope Bwog is right.

    JTS sold the building three years ago for over $35 million, and it must be worth more now. I don’t know if Barnard could afford to buy it outright. But if they could — and if the owner was willing to sell — then buying it would probably make sense. Renting other, comparable space in the neighborhood would also be expensive, and would surely cost more in the long term. And it’s unlikely that Barnard could find another vacant apartment building nearby. Having an entire building is better than having apartments scattered around the neighborhood, even if that option would have been cheaper. (It might not have been.)

  • Anon says:

    @Anon JTS has basically sold all of their land.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous What’s missing from this article is that none of the building owners – past, prospective, not future ones at Barnard – have informed the small businesses along Broadway that lease on the first floor of this building. After being told that a rent increase was imminent, some have made plans elsewhere. Is Barnard going to step up and reach out to these folks to help clarify things, in doing so helping drive effective dialogue in the community?

      1. anon says:

        @anon Usually when buildings change hands they honor old contracts. Barnard does not want an empty building and wants the rent. However, they will probably prefer more student friendly type businesses.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon I can’t believe Columbia is not scooping up these JTS, UTS, Manhattan School of Music, and St Luke’s buildings that come on sale.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous hope they replace the elevator because it broke down literally about once a week this past year and had a strict capacity of three people because more weight would cause it to stall and break

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