In light of tomorrow’s expected City Council vote on Columbia University’s expansion plan, the Harlem group that is negotiating a community benefits agreement is trying to finalize beforehand a set of pledges for the school to make on issues such as affordable housing, education and job training.
The agreement, according to a source familiar with the negotiations, is all set except for one crucial element: the numbers were left blank. The source said that the group, the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, has gone into these negotiations asking for a total of $247 million in benefits. Columbia has not offered much more than the $32.5 million pact it made with Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer in September, according to the source.
One new element that apparently both sides agree on: a public laboratory school, for pre-K through 8th grade, that would be affiliated with Teachers College, which is separate from, yet related to, Columbia, and supported by the university. This would come in addition to the high school for which Columbia will donate land that has already opened in temporary space.
Oh, and one other thing: the name has changed from a “community benefits agreement” to a “community partnership agreement.”