MIKE GIVES BOOST TO COLUMBIA EXPANSION
By MAGGIE HABERMAN and DAVID SEIFMAN
September 27, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg yesterday embraced Columbia University's push to expand its Harlem campus, even before the city's land-use process to evaluate the controversial plan has begun.
"We need to have Columbia University stay in this city and expand in this city," Bloomberg said yesterday. "It is one of the great resources we have . . . it's one of the great universities in the world and we should help them."
He said expansion is part of keeping up with the competition for students, grants and professors, although he said the city has to be "mindful of the surrounding communities."
The process for evaluating the plan began last month with a raucous Community Board 9 meeting in which Columbia president Lee Bollinger was jeered.
Yesterday, Bollinger stood with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Councilman Robert Jackson and J. Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman of the board, and announced a deal in which Columbia has agreed to a string of sweeteners.
Stringer, who pushed for the deal, said it included a $20 million affordable-housing fund.