Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sprayregen's Still Standing

In yesterday's NY Times, there's an article on the decision of West Harlem landowner Ann Whitman to make a deal with Columbia University: "A business owner who had pledged not to sell her property to make way for Columbia University’s expansion has reached a deal with the university, Columbia officials said on Tuesday.The agreement with the owner, Anne Z. Whitman, leaves only two property owners who have not settled with Columbia, which is embarking on a $7 billion expansion, the largest in its history."

Which, of course, leaves are client Nick Sprayregen standing almost by his lonesome: "Of the two remaining holdout owners, one is a family that operates a service station, and the other is Nicholas Sprayregen, the area’s largest landowner aside from Columbia. Mr. Sprayregen owns 300,000 square feet of space in five buildings, most of them used by his Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage business. On Tuesday, Mr. Sprayregen said that Ms. Whitman’s decision to reach a deal with Columbia would have no bearing on his position. “It makes it more disappointing, but it also makes my resolve to do the right thing even stronger,” he said."

And just what that "right thing" is, remains uncertain. It could mean a long drawn out eminent domain fight, one that would cost Columbia much time and money; or it could mean a land swap that would enable Sprayregen to stay, and with the added benefit of hundreds of units of affordable housing. Stay tuned for this one, it's gonna get even more interesting for sure.