Columbia seeks more space in Inwood

September 03, 2010 11:30AM

Columbia University is seeking to acquire more land along the Harlem River to legally construct a new sports complex at Broadway and 218th Street in Inwood, DNAinfo reported. A city law requires property owners on the Manhattan shoreline to set aside a predetermined percentage of the land for public use when building a new structure, but since Columbia doesn’t have the required amount, it is asking the city to allow it to acquire and develop additional space. To build the planned five-story, 48,000-square-foot Steven Holl-designed Campbell Sports Center, the school would normally have to set aside 180,000 square feet of additional city-owned public waterfront space, according to Wayne Benjamin, Community Board 12’s land use chair. But Columbia representatives — who say that the existing buildings and fields would make it difficult to meet the requirements — are drafting a new proposal that would increase the amount of public waterfront access to 37,000 square feet, from the 26,000 it proposed in May. Community response to the plan has so far been mixed, with some residents concerned about increased traffic, but generally excited about the prospect of new waterfront access. Once Columbia receives a response from the Department of City Planning later this month, it will formally present its plan to the board. [DNAinfo]