Columbia gets green light for expansion plan

December 13, 2010 02:30PM

Columbia University can move forward with plans for a $6.3 billion expansion after the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by local businesses whose properties may be subject to eminent domain, Crain’s reported. The justices refused to question findings by a state development agency, Empire State Development Corp., saying that the area is blighted and that the expansion has a legitimate public purpose. The 17-acre site in Manhattanville would add more than 6.8 million square feet to the university. The plan was challenged by the owners of four self-storage facilities and two gas stations that would be destroyed. However, the ESDC has said the project will create 14,000 construction jobs and 6,000 university positions. The first phase of the project, slated for completion in 2015, will include a science center and new facilities for Columbia’s business, arts and international and public affairs schools. Later phases are expected to be completed around 2030. [Crain’s]