Columbia announced today that its seventeen acre Manhattanville expansion project, designed by Renzo Piano and SOM, has been accepted into the LEED for Neighborhood Development (“LEED-ND”) Pilot Program. (image of the project site looking west from Broadway along 125th Street via Columbia). Interestingly, the news comes immediately in advance of the start of the City’s seven-month land-use review process (known as Ulurp), scheduled to commence on June 18th. Details on the project- including the looming battle between the university and local residents over its scale appeared in this week’s issue of Crain’s. Columbia hopes to begin the first phase of the $7 billion project next year, which would include the relocation of its business school, a new neuroscience research center, and a public high school for the hard sciences. Crain’s notes that for the first time ever, the City Planning Commission will hear two different, competing plans during the Ulurp process (one from Columbia and one from the community).
It’s not difficult to imagine that Columbia timed its LEED-ND announcement to coincide with the start of Ulurp next week. USGBC developed the fledgling LEED-ND rating system in concert with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the NRDC, designing it to promote development that reduces dependence on the automobile and create jobs and services that are accessible by foot. It won’t launch the full version of the rating system until 2009, and it’s quite possible that LEED could exist in an entirely different form (Version 3.0?) should there be a protracted fight over the expansion. LEED-ND is modeled on the other LEED systems and awards credits across Smart Location and Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern and Design, and Green Construction and Technology credit categories. I’m pleased to see that Columbia will participate in the Pilot Program, but we’ll see how (and if) it will respond to the concerns of the community as it proceeds through Ulurp.
- Columbia Expansion Proposal Selected for LEED-ND (Columbia News)
- LEED-ND (USGBC)
- Columbia Fireworks Set to Begin (Crain’s)
- Sell Now or Later in West Harlem? (Curbed)