Yesterday we reported that Columbia University has won LEED ND Platinum for its Manhattanville campus, in recognition for the sustainability goals the school has set out for its new 17-acre campus off 125th Street. A big part of that is the fancy green buildings the school will be building on the site, the first of which is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (dubbed the Mind-Brain Institute) designed by Pritzker Prize winner and Times HQ architect Renzo Piano, who also helped created the LEED-certified master plan. The project is slowly taking shape in Harlem, but Columbia provided us with this cool video that shows the building coming together in all of one minute, 17 seconds.
With the exception of a deadly construction accident in March, things have been fairly quiet on the western front of Harlem. Starting nearly a decade ago, Manhattanville became one of the most hotly contested corners of the city, as Columbia University first worked to have the neighborhood rezoned for a new 17-acre campus, approved in 2007, followed by the state leading an eminent domain case on the school’s behalf to repossess the land of two local business owners, which culminated in 2010. (Since then, the city’s focus has shifted south, to another university-led redevelopment.)
All the while, Columbia has gone about the work of creating the most environmentally progressive neighborhood in the entire five boroughs, all from whole cloth.
Last week, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Columbia’s new campus with LEED ND Platinum, the highest rating in the council’s new-ish neighborhood development program. It is only the fifth project in the state to earn such recognition, and the first to achieve LEED ND Platinum. The designation means that the project has embraced the goals of accessibility, density, design and environmental efficiency, creating a model for future development.
“We like to think of it as a three-legged stool: environment, economy, equity,” Jason Hercules, director of the LEED ND program, told The Observer. “Manhattanville excelled in all three.”
Blame it on the builders.
Breeze International, the firm demolishing a Manhattanville building for Columbia that collapsed yesterday and claimed one life, just released a statement addressing the cause of the accident. The firm’s investigation found that an unusual construction configuration appears to be the reason the building was destabilized and collapsed.
Because the structural beam the demo crew severed was not properly connected to the rest of the structure, when it was cut, everything else came down around it. Breeze points to a lack of construction drawings from when the building was built between eight and 10 decades ago as to why the unusual connection was not initially recognized.
Following today’s warehouse collapse in Manhattanville that killed a construction worker, Columbia University released a statement expressing its sympathies for the family.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the family, friends and co-workers of the construction worker who was killed in this tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the two other workers who were injured this morning and their loved ones,” the university said in a brief statement.
The building was being taken down to make way for a public plaza that is part of the university’s second phase, which remains years away. The scheduling of the construction work was not immediately clear—why demolish now to leave vacant for later.
The Lease Beat
The new Columbia campus in Manhattanville has had its share of problems from community protests to eminent domain lawsuits. Now comes the worst incident yet, as a building being demolished by the university collapsed today, trapping three construction workers inside, according to DNAinfo, one of whom died shortly after being pulled from the rubble.
Two tenants have signed leases at 5 Columbus Circle totaling 17,000 square feet of space.
One of the deals, a 5,500 square foot transaction with 1Life Healthcare on the building’s 17th floor, was done for rents around $70 per square foot, among the highest the building has ever netted, even during the real estate boom before the recession.
Masters of Fine Arts
Columbia’s football game against Cornell last Saturday has received a lot of attention lately. It’s not the team’s stellar play that has people interested—they are 0-9 on the season—but rather the school band. Perhaps they were simply fed up with the program’s disappointing performance, or maybe—and this seems more likely—they were Read More
Deborah Eisenberg, the short story writer, is leaving the University of Virginia to join the faculty at Columbia University’s writing program. Ms. Eisenberg has taught at UVA since 1994, but the lure of Morningside Heights and brilliant students willing to bank $100,000 on their own literary promise (through a combination of scholarships and loans, of Read More
Twitter was abuzz this week with the news that Square, the start-up service that allows anyone with an iPhone and a small white device to process credit cards, was dropping its steep transaction fees. One business that had an especially caffeinated reaction was Joe: The Art of Coffee, who tweeted that their new Columbia Read More
On a gray Friday in January, a largely empty church on 121st Street and Broadway was immaculate in the way of a rarely used living room. Even on a slushy winter morning, Corpus Christi’s floors gleamed.
At noon sharp, in the rectory next door, the Rev. Raymond Rafferty, the church’s pastor, leaned forward, checked his Read More