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Columbia University plans 34-story residential tower in Harlem

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The tower will “reduce demand on the local housing market,” say university reps

The new tower is the latest addition to Columbia University’s Harlem footprint.
Nathan Kensinger

Columbia University filed plans for a new 34-story residential tower in Harlem this week as part of its sprawling campus expansion, city Department of Buildings records show.

The new project is set to rise at 600 West 125th Street with 142 apartments for graduate students and faculty—replacing a shuttered McDonald’s outpost, filings show. Columbia purchased the deed from the fast-food chain in 2004 for just over $2.7 million; the eatery will return as a ground-floor retail tenant, according to property records.

Victoria Benitez, a spokesperson for Columbia University, says the school expects the high-rise to reduce demand on the local housing market and help revamp the block with a handful of street improvements.

“The new residential location will enliven this iconic intersection as well as 125th Street to the west with active ground-floor uses and streetscape improvements, creating a pedestrian-friendly corridor and gateway to the Manhattanville campus,” said Benitez.

The university aims to begin construction in 2020 and complete the project by the summer of 2022. Builders on the project will seek to achieve at least LEED Silver, a sustainable design standard. CetraRuddy Architecture is listed on project filings. The building will also include a library, lounge, kids play room, and a gym, building records show.

Plans for the tower follow Columbia’s new Manhattanville Campus. The last of three buildings designed by starchitect Renzo Piano for the Harlem campus debuted in September 2018. Two more buildings are currently under construction at the 17-acre campus, which spans 125th to 133rd streets, between Broadway and Twelfth Avenue.