FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2009
STATEMENTS OF MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR PATERSON ON FINAL PUBLIC APPROVAL OF GENERAL PROJECT PLAN FOR COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY EXPANSION
Statement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg:
"Today's approval of the General Project Plan for Columbia University West Harlem development plan serves as a testament to Governor Paterson's strong leadership. The Public Authorities Control Board's decision - the culmination of a long-standing collaboration among Columbia, City and State agencies, local elected officials, and the local community - will enable a critically important job-creating economic development initiative to move forward.
"Columbia's new campus in the Manhattanville section of West Harlem will complement the City's investment at the recently-opened West Harlem Piers Park and planned streetscape improvements along West 125th Street, and build upon other initiatives in Upper Manhattan, including last year's rezoning of 125th Street and the East 125th Street development. Columbia's plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2007, will transform 17 acres in West Harlem into a modern, academic mixed-use development with 6.8 million square feet of new state-of-the-art facilities that will help solidify New York City as a world-renowned center for higher education and scientific research and enhance New York's ability to attract highly-skilled talent. In addition to creating a projected 14,000 construction jobs over the course of the 25-year build-out and 6,000 permanent jobs, the expansion will provide nearly 100,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, enhance the area's cultural activities, and activate the neighborhood's street life with wide sidewalks and ground-floor retail uses."
"I want to thank Governor Paterson for his tireless efforts to move this important project forward, and the other local elected officials, Community Board 9, the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, and Columbia University for working together to forge consensus on a project so vital to Upper Manhattan and the entire City."
"Today, the Public Authorities Control Board approved the General Project Plan for the redevelopment and expansion of Columbia University's Morningside Campus. The expansion of one of New York's oldest educational institutions will enhance the vitality of both the University and its neighboring community, while meeting the long-term needs of its residents.
"While the national recession has led to a decline in development in New York, this $6.3 billion project will be one of the largest to move forward this year, resulting in 14,000 construction jobs over 25 years and 6,000 University positions. Recognizing the needs of our West Harlem community, the project also includes a community benefits agreement that will provide scholarships for local residents, medical facilities for school-age children and enhanced curricula for local secondary schools.
"I am delighted that the work and cooperation of our partners at Columbia, the Mayor's Office, and Empire State Development, as well as local elected officials and members of the community will help ensure that Columbia maintains its role as one of the foremost educational and cultural institutions in the world and a major New York employer."
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
rin Duggan (Governor) (212) 681-4640