Columbia's tenants move into Arbor


By Kate Pastor

The deal has been sealed. Last month, Columbia University forked over a whopping $67.6 million to buy The Arbor, the failed condominium complex at 3260 Henry Hudson Parkway, from Hudson Arlington Associates, a subsidiary of L & M Development Partners.

That’s nearly six times the $11.9 million Hudson Arlington Associates paid the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale for the property in 2005. With condo sales lagging, the developer opted to sell the 127-unit complex.

L & M Development Partners did not return calls for comment, but Brad Trebach, a local realtor, said he could see the deal as a win-win.

“When you build a building and you try to sell it as a condo … and you end up selling to an institutional buyer, that’s not really a failure because you’re actually managing to sell your entire product in one fell swoop,” he said.

On a sunny morning last Friday, just three weeks after the ink dried on the deal, the building’s new tenants were already moving in.

According to Dan Held, director of communications for Columbia University Facilities, the building has been left in tact with a mixture of one-, twoand three-bedroom apartments, with residents being signed to one-year leases. Mr. Held said the building will “initially” house a combination of graduate and post-graduate students from a number of schools, as well as librarians, faculty and their families.

While some expressed fear at having an influx of new college students in the area, Mr. Trebach thinks Columbia’s presence will be a good thing for Riverdale. New residents will bring new business to the Johnson Avenue shopping district, he said.

Colleges and universities, however, are exempt from the city’s Real Property Tax for uses that support their educational purposes, and the city is expected to lose $65.1 million in taxes from student dormitories and additional student and faculty housing in 2008, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office.

None of these issues seemed to be on Brooke Paige’s mind, though, as she busily moved crates and boxes into the master suite she has secured in a threebedroom apartment. The 23-year-old is beginning her first year at Columbia’s School of Social Work, at Amsterdam Avenue between West 121st and 122nd streets, and is happy to have found a home in Riverdale.

There is even a shuttle already in operation that moves residents between The Arbor, the West 231st Street subway station and Columbia’s various campuses.

“I had options,” said Ms. Paige, adding that she “immediately liked” the apartment and was drawn to Riverdale.

“I heard it was like the suburbs of the Bronx,” she said.