Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University’s nineteenth president, speaks during a dedication ceremony at Columbia University’s new Manhattanville campus.
The economic impact of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville campus has meant a big boost for local and minority-owned construction companies, according to data revealed Tuesday.
The university is opening its first building on the new campus on Harlem’s west side — and Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger said the ongoing construction will result in roughly $6.3 billion in local investment.
“Columbia embraces its role as an engine of economic opportunity in our home city,” said Bollinger, who unveiled the economic impact numbers on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” Tuesday.
The Ivy League school also paid out $578 million to minority-, women-, and locally-owned firms for construction-related work over the past five years, the president said, and generated more than 1,500 construction-related jobs a year.
The expansion of Columbia University’s footprint in Harlem was the source of much controversy when it was first proposed more than a decade ago.
The 17-building Manhattanville campus will stretch from West 125th St. to 133rd St. along the west side when finally completed in 2030.
A series of court tussles over the formerly industrialized area took place between 2008 and 2010 when the state’s Empire State Development agency seized several tracts through eminent domain.
After much community protest, a New York appellate court ruled the state’s use of eminent domain was unlawful — and done for the benefit for the university more than the West Harlem residents.
That ruling was reversed in 2010 by the Court of Appeals, and Columbia proceeded with its plans — but not without ongoing community protest.
The university agreed to invest roughly $160 million into the Manhattanville community and set up various programs to help local residents get jobs and enjoy the benefits of having a world-class university in their midst.
Pedestrians pass the new Manhattanville campus of Columbia University on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016.
Bollinger’s figures on the economic impact to date included the following data:
* Columbia will employ an estimated 2,500 people over the next ten years, including faculty, on the Manhattanville campus. More people will be employed in ongoing construction and as employees at commercial spaces located on the new campus.
* An estimated 6,400 people earning approximately $600 million will be employed there by the university.
* From 2008 to 2016, minority-, women—, and locally-owned construction businesses got 34% of Columbia’s overall construction spending and 50% of all workforce hours.
Working with the West Harlem Development Corporation, Empire State Development and the city, Columbia committed $150 million in new benefits and amenities to the local West Harlem community. This includes:
* $76 million directed by the local community itself through the West Harlem Development Corp. to support various projects with grants and to fund other activities in areas such as housing, employment and economic development, education, transportation, arts and culture, and community facilities.
* $20 million dedicated to the Harlem Community Development Corp., an Empire State Development Corp. subsidiary that plans and facilitates community revitalization.
* $20 million for an affordable housing fund and $4 million to support legal assistance for housing issues for West Harlem residents.
* An $18 million commitment for development and maintenance of West Harlem Piers Park.