Monday, December 24, 2007

Columbia's Housing Benefits

According to today's Spectator, the amount of money that Columbia has pledged for affordable housing in the CBA doesn't appear to be much more than the original $24 million that it had agreed to invest when BP Stringer had signed on to the deal. That being said, the city has apparently ponied up a large amount to fill in the breach: "The memorandum includes the $24 million Columbia previously announced it would spend on affordable housing and an additional $20 million toward “inclined services” intended to meet other requirements for quality-of-life improvement, Russell said. The City has pledged an additional $150 million separate from the benefits memorandum toward affordable housing in the Community Board 9 area of West Harlem."

If so, then the university has struck a real good deal for itself, since the taxpayers are footing the bill for any new housing in and around the expansion area. We'd be willing to bet, however, that Columbia will be willing to invest even more if the right situation presents itself. Stay tuned on this.

And we're also certain that local elected officials will be in the front lines on the effort to encourage the university to avoid ED and partner in significant housing for the impacted West Harlem community. There's something in the swap deal for all the parties to this dispute.