The Colleges That Ate New York

Manhattanville campus under construction

For a moment there, it appeared as if three mammoth university construction projects slated for New York City might never get on the rails. New York University’s 2-million-square-foot expansion in Greenwich Village got tied up in court over the use of park areas during construction, until an appeals court this past October ruled in the school’s favor. Columbia University’s planned 6.8-million-square-foot campus in Manhattanville also faced legal hurdles before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 allowed the school to take over property in the blighted community in West Harlem. Finally, Ithaca-based Cornell University is developing the 700,000-square-foot Cornell Tech, an engineering school that will occupy the southern end of Roosevelt Island.  That project initially drew the ire of pro-Palestine protestors because of its affiliation with an Israeli university called Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Now that all three developments are moving forward, Commercial Observer examines what the projects mean for New York City’s real estate landscape. Read More

On the Market

Columbia Taps Winick for Manhattanville Retail


Winick Realty Group is going to grad school.

The trustees of Columbia University have selected the firm to market three retail spaces slated for phase one of the university’s Manhattanville expansion plans, Commercial Observer has learned. The stores, which Winick brokers anticipate will be ready for possession in the fourth quarter of the year, will offer a collective 22,115 square feet of available space on the base of the 450,000-square-foot Jerome L. Greene Science Center on the northwest corner of West 129th Street and Broadway, Winick officials told CO. Read More

Under Construction

Under Construction: The Jerome L. Greene Science Center and Lenfest Center for the Arts

Philip Pitruzzello, Columbia University’s vice president for Manhattanville Development.

The gates at Columbia University’s main campus on Broadway and 116th Street send a strong message: students are welcome and strangers stay out.

But Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus, stretching from 129th to 133rd Street west of Broadway, now under construction, is steered by a different philosophy.  Its goal is to interact with the community and enhance it, rather than keeping out residents and city dwellers.  Read More

Wrecking Ball

Columbia Seeks Demo Permit at Future Campus Site [Updated]

3205 Broadway.

Columbia University is seeking a demolition permit for a building that is situated within the parameters of the school’s $6.4 billion future Manhattanville campus.

Yesterday, the school filed an application for a permit to demolish a one-story building at 3205 Broadway, near 125th Street, according to Department of Buildings records. The site will become a 60,0000-square-foot academic conference center, “which will be a hub for fostering collaboration across Columbia’s campuses and feature a 400-seat auditorium and state-of-the-art seminar and meeting rooms,” a school spokesman said.  Read More

The Sit-Down

Gale Brewer and the Battle Against 7-Eleven

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in her 1 Centre Street office.

Gale Brewer has lived on the Upper West Side since 1970. She served as the area’s City Council member for 12 years, concluding at the end of 2013, before starting as the 27th Manhattan borough president. Ms. Brewer, who plans to open a ground-floor district office on West 125th Street, joined with city preservationists earlier this month to call for reforms to the landmarking process following the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s refusal to consider landmark status for the Rizzoli Bookstore building at 31 West 57th Street. As Manhattan Beep, Ms. Brewer is tasked with advising the mayor and City Council on borough concerns, providing feedback on all land-use matters, advocating for New York County in the municipal budget process and appointing members of the 12 community boards. Ms. Brewer successfully advocated for the passage of legislation while in the City Council that would compel landlords to fix repeat violations as well as a law that requires all city data be published online. In February, Commercial Observer chatted with Ms. Brewer in her office at 1 Centre Street about adjusting to her new position, her beef with 7-Elevens and the easiest and most challenging developers to work with. Read More


Top 1WTC Security Officer Resigns


The Durst Organization is reportedly looking for a successor to replace a top security official who resigned following a series of incidents that exposed seemingly gaping holes in security at 1 World Trade Center.

David Velazquez, assistant security director at the site, will not leave the firm until The Durst Organization has found a replacement. Read More

Lease Beat

Mezzogiorno Brothers Opening Sister Restaurant Near Columbia

2791 Broadway

The owners of Soho Italian eatery Mezzogiorno are going to be opening an Italian restaurant uptown late this summer, in what the lone broker in the deal called “more of this uptown march of downtown restaurants,” Commercial Observer has learned.

The broker, Rafe Evans of Walker, Malloy & Company, said as of now there is no Italian restaurant north of 103rd Street on Broadway. Read More

On the Market

Real Estate Entrepreneur Seeks “Really Nice” Girl


Jeremy Cooper of Cooper & Cooper Real Estate is on the market.

The 41-year-old real estate entrepreneur – a fisherman, pilot, former semi-pro football player and meteorologist – is seeking his “bashart,” The single Mr. Cooper wants a woman who accepts him, with similar family values, who doesn’t “prevent me from doing the things I Read More

Sales Beat

Two Harlem Development Sites Sell for $6.6 Million, Hotel Could Rise

Credit: ABS

ABS Partners Real Estate announced yesterday that it had closed the sale of two Harlem development sites in a $6.6 million transaction. The sites are located at 412-422 and 423-429 West 126th Street, and both were rezoned under the recent West Harlem Rezoning Initiative.

Steven Hornstock and Justin Strizzi led an ABS team that represented the seller and buyer, a New York-based Chinese development company. Alan Cohen and Adam Maxson of ABS also worked closely on the deal. Read More

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday I.M. Pei: Oldest Living Pritzker Prize Winner Turns 96 Today

I.M. Pei Headshot

The oldest living Pritzker Prize winner turns 96 today.

Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei will celebrate his 96th birthday with a “small, intimate affair,” his family relayed to The Commercial Observer.

During his six-decade career, Mr. Pei created iconic structures across the world, including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City and the pyramid entrance Read More