Columbia University unveils plans for new residential project in Harlem

SOURCE: Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash
Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus is constantly expanding with new projects.

By U2B Staff 

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Columbia University will be constructing a new residential tower in West Harlem as part of its campus expansion plan, a project it says will reduce demand on the local real estate market for student and faculty housing.

According to several reports, city Department of Buildings records showed the university’s filed plans for the new 34-storey residential tower spanning over 175,000 square feet at 600 West 125th Street with CentraRuddy Architecture listed in the project. 

The tower will consist of 142 apartments to meet housing demands for the university’s graduate students and faculty and will contribute towards the surrounding community with the provision of various facilities and retailers. 

According to reports, the university purchased a deed from fast-food chain McDonald’s in 2004 for over US$2.7 million to replace a decades-old outlet with the new residential project. A new 5,000 square feet McDonald’s outlet will open as a ground-floor retail tenant. 


Columbia University spokesperson Victoria Benitez said the new residential tower will enliven the iconic 125th street and its surroundings with new ground-floor retailers and facilities and streetscape improvements, creating a pedestrian-friendly corridor to the newly established Manhattanville campus. 

The university also intends to support the local community by allocating 35 percent of contracting opportunities to local firms owned by women and minorities. 

Among the planned community facilities for the residential project includes a library, lounge, kids playroom and a gym.

residential project
The new residence will include various facilities to enrich the community. Source: bewakoof official/unsplash.

The residential tower construction project will also involve sustainable building design measures to align with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. 

Projects pursuing LEED certification will earn points across several categories which include location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental and quality, innovation, and more. 

The university aims to achieve a LEED certification rank of Silver (50-59 certification points) or higher. 

Construction of the Harlem residential tower is planned to commence in 2020 with a goal of completion by summer 2022. 


This project follows the university’s Manhattanville Campus project, a 17-acre campus spanning 125th to 133rd streets between Broadway and Tenth Avenue. The last of three buildings designed by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano has been completed in late 2018, with two more currently under construction. 

The new residential tower will contribute to the Manhattanville Campus’ expanding community.