Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Affordable Housing and Columbia

In yesterday's NY Daily News, the paper detailed just how the fiscal meltdown may impact Bloomberg's affordable housing goals: "Mayor Bloomberg's campaign to build 165,000 units of desperately needed affordable housing appears to be running into the same economic maelstrom that brought down Wall Street. A $240 million fund that was a key element of the mayor's housing plan relies on some of the country's most troubled banks and securities firms, records show. The New York City Acquisition Fund's partners include Washington Mutual, Wachovia and Fannie Mae, strongly suggesting it may become a casualty of the still-evolving credit meltdown."

Which gets us to thinking about Columbia's expansion, the one that failed to include any housing, affordable or otherwise, in its West Harlem land grab. As we have commented, property owner Nick Sprayregen, whose land is in the way of the university bulldozer, has proposed a land that would allow him to remain in the area and build housing on the east side of Broadway, across from his current location.

What's real opportune her, is that, given Columbia's immense endowment, the project wouldn't need to tap into any of the current affordable housing monies; assuming that the university could be persuaded to make the swap and pony up in the name of the community that it says it supports, and really wants to be a part of. We're quite sure that this would get the full support of all of the elected officials, and we will help advance this so that we can get a win-win in West Harlem.