Columbia University inks deals with 2 restaurants

Roberta’s, Sapp’s will open close to the Morningside Heights campus

Columbia University
Columbia University

Two new restaurants are coming to Columbia University.

Roberta’s and Sapp’s both signed leases with the University to open in Morningside Heights.

Roberta’s, the popular pizza joint that helped put Bushwick’s restaurant scene on the map, will open its first standalone Manhattan location, spanning about 830 square feet, at 2913 Broadway. The eatery already has a stall within Urbanspace Vanderbilt’s food hall near Grand Central Terminal, along with a ghost kitchen that it recently opened on the Lower East Side. It’s expected to open the Columbia location sometime this summer.

The other restaurant is Sapp’s, a Japanese spot with one location in Long Island City. Its second storefront at 2888 Broadway — its first Manhattan location — will be over 2,800 square feet, and have a full bar. It’s due to open sometime in the fall.

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Students are now partially back on the Columbia campus, which spans roughly 36 acres in Morningside Heights.

During the pandemic, the school has supported the small businesses in its retail portfolio by offering rent abatements for qualifying tenants. Columbia leases out approximately 600,000 square feet of retail space across Morningside Heights, Harlem and Washington Heights.

Retail rents have fallen across the city as the pandemic forces restaurants and businesses to shutter. On Broadway between 72nd Street and 86th Street, south of the Columbi, the average asking price per square foot hit $271, an 8 percent decline year-over-year.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Amy Zhen brokered both deals on behalf of Columbia and worked with Lee & Associates for Roberta’s lease.