Columbia's $6.3 billion Manhattanville expansion plan got a second day of hearings in front of the Empire State Development Corp. and it looks like it wasn't pretty at times, just like Day One. Why do we say this? Well, there was the high school teacher, who per the Times said: "Columbia University’s expansion plan follows the worst example of Robert Moses. This plan makes a mockery of the gravity of eminent domain." Then, there was the executive director of the Harlem Tenants Council who said, "This is a diabolical plan that is racist in nature and intended to drive us out — and they don’t care where we go." Yesterday's hearing focused on the use of eminent domain to secure land that Columbia can't get agreements to buy. The ESDC has already declared the neighborhood "blighted" and is expected to okay eminent domain for the project. Speaking of which, the area's biggest holdout, Nick Sprayregen also spoke at the hearing. He said the process so far shows "incredible bad faith on the part of government." The storage facility owner says he will fight the use of eminent domain to take his property all the way to the Supreme Court, a process that could hold up the Manhattanville expansion--not unlike the litigation that has tied up the Atlantic Yards plan in Brooklyn--for years.
· Hearing on Columbia Plan Elicits Emotional Speeches [NYT]
· Project Met with Mixed Feelings at ESDC Hearing [Columbia Spectator]
· Columbia Seeking Warm Fuzzy Support for Expansion [Curbed]