A New York state court ruling Thursday forced Columbia University to scale back its expansion plans.
In a 3-to-2 decision, the court annulled a 2008 decision that had allowed Columbia to take property from surrounding areas for the expansion. The 2008 ruling relied on eminent domain on the part of the state to secure parts of a 17-acre site in West Harlem — but Thursday’s decision deemed this action unconstitutional.
In 2003, Columbia initiated plans to build a $6.3 billion satellite campus that would replace University buildings north of 125th Street with school buildings.
Columbia unsuccessfully attempted a similar feat in 1969, when it tried to expand into Morningside Park. The project unleashed a community battle, the likes of which Columbia attempted to prevent for the current project. This time, the university focused on an area of small businesses and warehouses. Even so, some residents and business owners opposed the expansion and fought the decision in court.
Despite the ruling, Columbia will still be able to continue with most of its expansion plan. Columbia already owns or controls 91 percent of the desired site and can choose to build around its current buildings or negotiate with parties in the area.Comments powered by Disqus
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