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Columbia's Washington Heights Tower Expected to Break Ground This Summer

By Nigel Chiwaya | June 21, 2013 12:54pm
  Groundbreaking on Columbia's 14-story glass tower is expected by September, a university spokesman said.
CUMC Haven Ave. Tower
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Columbia University will begin work on a 14-story Haven Avenue medical and graduate tower this summer, the university announced Thursday.

Columbia's trustees approved construction of the 100,000 square-foot glass tower last weekend. Groundbreaking is expected by August or September, a university spokesman told DNAinfo New York.

Columbia announced intentions to build the tower on existing university property at 104 Haven Ave. in July 2012. The building will house several high tech classrooms, learning centers and even a 300-seat auditorium.

The tower was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which also redesigned the Upper West Side's Lincoln Center and the High Line.

While a budget on the project has not been released, the university has said that the tower was made possible by a $50 million donation made by Columbia alumni P. Roy and Diana Vagelos in September 2010.

Several spaces in the building, including the auditorium, will be available for use by community groups, and the courtyard in front of the building's entrance will be open to the public.

Construction is expected to last 42 months and the Columbia is aiming to open the tower in 2016. Columbia reiterated that it intends to hire 35% minority, women and local trades workers for the project. Work also won't begin before 8:00 a.m., the spokesman said.

Columbia has created a website where residents can get more information and updates on the project.