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Columbia Promises No Residential Evictions, Loves Cotton Club

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Columbia's big $7 billion Manhattanville expansion plan had its first City Council hearing yesterday. University officials promised not to use evictions or eminent domain on residential properties and also said they won't tear down the Cotton Club and turn it into a park. The key word in the eminent domain vow appears to be "residential," because University officials didn't rule out taking property from three commercial property owners that might not want to sell. The packed hearing featured much booing and applauding, depending on the point being made. Columbia President Lee Bollinger is described as "drawing a murmer of discontent," by the Daily News when he said there was a sense of "trust" established with the community. The money quote came from Columbia senior executive vice president Robert Kasdin who said, "Under no conditions will Columbia University seek eminent domain with respect to any residential housing. We will not use eviction to further our project."
· Columbia: No evictions in expansion [NYDN]
· Columbia Says Eminent Domain Would Not Affect Housing [Sun]
· Columbia Spares Club [NYP]