Columbia University Snaps Up Former Fairway Site for $84M 

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Finding a sizable parcel of land up for grabs in New York City is like finding a needle in a haystack, but one lucky buyer just found (and bought) that needle. 

Columbia University just snapped up the former Fairway Market assemblage at 2328 12th Avenue in Harlem for $84 million in an all-cash deal, Commercial Observer has learned. 

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The 2.5-acre site hit the market in August 2020, with Cushman & Wakefield’s Eric Roth, Adam Spies, Robert Shapiro, Tyler Signora and Harry James handling the marketing and sale, as first reported by CO.

A Fairway supermarket once occupied the location, which spans three full city blocks between 12th Avenue and the Henry Hudson Parkway and comprises eight lots in total. The property currently includes a 68,000-square-foot parking lot; a 13,000-square-foot vacant warehouse; a 41,000-square-foot vacant building; and some prime, high-grossing billboard space that’s visible to highway drivers, as well as train riders on Amtrak’s Hudson line.

The site — which was the only space remaining between the university’s new Manhattanville campus and the Hudson River — has the potential for 219,000 square feet of new development, although Columbia’s future plans for it couldn’t immediately be gleaned. 

Happily, the high-profile location already sits within Columbia University‘s expansive zoning — the Special Manhattanville Mixed-Use Zoning District — which allows a myriad of potential uses.

Although Columbia was the eventual victor, the sale drew fierce competition from various developers of industrial, film studio and life sciences properties, sources familiar with the sale said, the spacious location being a pretty ideal spot for any of the aforementioned uses. 

The assemblage was previously owned by the Glickberg family, founders of Fairway Market. The popular Fairway location at the site shuttered in 2020 following the retailer’s Chapter 11 filing

Officials at Columbia University weren’t available for comment. A C&W spokesperson declined to comment. 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com.