By Al Barbarino
Columbia University’s West Harlem expansion plan — the Manhattanville project — is getting some extra attention from city real estate investors.
The 17-acre campus, being built between 125th and 133rd Streets, Broadway and 12th Avenue, will be home to the Columbia Business School, the School of the Arts and the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, among other facilities.
“The entire neighborhood, already a wonderful area well served by restaurants, services, shopping, parks and public transportation, will be transformed by Columbia University’s” Manhattanville project, said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors, a real estate investment company that specializes in multi-family properties.
The firm is currently marketing two adjacent multifamily properties, located at 556-62 West 126th Street and steps from the Manhattanville campus. They make up a combined 36,599 s/f, with 36 four-bedroom, two one-bedroom and one commercial unit. There is significant room for rent growth, as 26 of the units are occupied at below market rates.
“We’ve already received very positive initial interest in these buildings,” said Victor Sozio, vice president at Ariel, who declined to put a price tag on the property because the bidding process is ongoing.
He pointed to the Manhattanville project and the redevelopment of the Taystee Cake Bakery complex at West 125th Street, which closed in the late 1970s, as two major development projects that could spark rent increases in the area.
That project, dubbed CREATE @ Harlem Green and being redeveloped by Janus Partners LCC and Monadnock Construction Inc., will preserve the Taystee building’s original façade and add approximately 328,000 s/f of new commercial space for manufacturing, office, retail, and community space.
“The area is getting a lot of great attention,” Sozio said. “I think people really see the tremendous upside in both revenue and appreciation potential.”
ERG Property Advisors is also taking note of the changes in the neighborhood. The brokerage company is selling a portfolio of six historic brownstone-style buildings just north of the Manhattanville project — made up of 53 residential units and built in the early 1900’s – for $7.5 million. The buildings are located at 322, 345, 347 and 349 Convent Ave., and 462 and 470 West 141th Street.
“There is so much going on in that area,” said Matthew Sparks, who is exclusively handling the listings with Oren Neria.
Sparks, who has been brokering deals in the neighborhood for ten years, pointed to the buildings’ close proximity to City College, Columbia University and the incoming Manhattanville project as major draws.
He called Convent Ave., which was used as a backdrop to scenes in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, one of the most “gorgeous areas in the city.”
The Manhattanville project, an extension of Columbia University, will be built in two phases between 125th and 133rd Streets, Broadway and 12th Avenue. Columbia University has invested a reported $6.3 billion in the project and the plan includes more than 6.8 million square feet of space for teaching, research, underground parking and support services.
“Columbia is using the greatest architects in the world in its master plan for 17 buildings, with a truly exciting street level plan reserved for retail shops and open green spaces that will further energize this community,” Shkury, from Ariel Property Advisors, said.