Columbia University Signs Blue Bottle, Dos Toros in Retail Refresh

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Students at Columbia University in need of a pick-me-up will soon have Blue Bottle Coffee and Dos Toros among their roster of options, as the university makes a push for new retailers to service the Morningside Heights campus, Commercial Observer has learned. 

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The retailers will be setting up shop on the ground floor of 2901-2913 Broadway, a residential building between West 113th and West 114th Streets that is owned by Columbia, according to brokerage JLL, which is working in partnership with the university. Coffee roaster Blue Bottle is taking 1,711 square feet while the San Francisco Mission District-inspired Mexican eatery Dos Toros is filling 669 square feet.  

They will be joined by Hex & Company, a board game cafe, and Loco Coco, a seller of vegan superfood bowls and smoothies. The former is taking 4,322 square feet, and the latter signed for 487 square feet. 

All four retailers are expected to open by the end of the year, according to JLL. 

“These specialty retailers are an ideal fit for the community,” said Davie Berke of JLL in prepared remarks. “Columbia’s campus on the Upper West Side extends well beyond its classrooms and academic buildings, and these retailers will be popular destinations for everyone connected to the university as well as for local residents.”

Hex & Company, which currently operates a store two blocks south of its new digs, boasts a library of over 1,000 games, events such as a Dungeons & Dragons meetup, and cafe offerings such as pretzels, pizzas, beer and coffee, according to its website. 

The leases are a product of a partnership between Columbia and JLL to draw retail tenants aimed at serving students, faculty and residents. The initiative also includes six additional spaces that JLL is marketing at properties along Broadway between West 103rd Street and West 114th Street. 

“The transactions are part of a dedicated strategy to further enhance the neighborhood, improve the streetscape, and expand the retail offerings surrounding our campus,” said Shari Colburn, vice president of real estate at Columbia, in prepared remarks.

The Ivy League school, centered near Broadway and West 115th Street, reported a total of 33,032 students in Fall 2018, a steady increase from 26,399 students in Fall 2009, according to a report from the Office of the Provost. The 2018 figure was  broken down into 8,931 undergraduates, and the remainder in graduate, medical school and professional studies.  

JLL’s team also included Amy Zhen and Patrick A. Smith while Columbia’s in-house team was also made up of Anne Lubell and Aaron Weaver

Blue Bottle was represented by Marc Frankel of Newmark Knight Frank Retail, and Dos Toros’ brokerage team included Mark Tedeschi and Adam Langer of SRS Real Estate. Loco Coo was represented by Daniyel Cohen of Winick Realty Group. JLL represented both the landlord and Hex & Company in its lease.