When the city's planning commission votes today on Columbia University's plan to build on 17 acres in West Harlem, it is expected to sidestep the question of what role eminent domain could play in the project.
Planning Commission To Vote on Columbia Plan
The $6 billion plan's footprint currently includes some land occupied by gas stations and storage facilities that Columbia has been unable to purchase. In all, four companies or individuals have not sold their property to the university.
How, or whether, Columbia will obtain the title to those properties remains unclear. It has pledged not to ask the state to invoke eminent domain to evict tenants living in residential apartments nearby, but it has not made such a promise to the commercial property owners.
But eminent domain is not proving a sticking point with the city's planning commission, which is made up of appointees of Mayor Bloomberg and will likely approve Columbia's plan at today's hearing.