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Condo Development at Theological Seminary

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The Morningside Heights neighborhood will see a new condo tower go up. The Union Theological Seminary Campus is in talks to sell 350,000 square feet of its air rights that will go towards a 35-40 story residential building. L & M Development Partners is the developer on the case. They are a real estate development company that “has been an innovator in developing quality affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing, while improving the neighborhoods in which it works.”[1] The company has developed affordable residential, commercial, and mixed-use building since their inception in 1984.

The Seminary has been financially struggling recently, and the prospect of the residential tower would provide money necessary for its repairs. The Seminary will “receive much-needed renovations and repairs that will include restoration work on the crumbling facade, infrastructural upgrades that will include new boilers, and increased accessibility for disabled visitors. These repairs could cost as much as $100 million.”[2] It is unclear whether the Seminary couldn’t find funding elsewhere, having to resort to selling off part of its campus. The project is anticipated to start development this upcoming summer. “The tower will feature condos, along with office space, faculty housing, and classrooms that will be owned by the seminary. The project will dedicate $5 million toward a community investment fund for local projects that will be agreed upon by local elected officials and nonprofit organizations.”[3]

Talks of building a residential tower have been going on for years. Many of the students and faculty are opposed to the project. “Building a new high-rise community only for the elite in the heart of the UTS campus is antithetical to the building of a world where all God’s children are to be loved, housed and cared for,”[4] The Seminary has been a staple of the Morningside Heights community since it was founded in 1836. It has been at the center of black liberation and feminist theologies movements. It is also affiliated with nearby Columbia University, where students can take classes.


[1] L & M Development Partners (January 2019), https://lmdevpartners.com/ Accessed on January 8, 2019

[2] Walker, A. (January 2019), Morningside Heights Seminary plans 42-story condo tower. Retrieved from Curbed New York, https://ny.curbed.com/2019/1/2/18165350/morningside-heights-seminary-condo-tower-plans Accessed on January 9, 2019

[3] Ib.

[4] Warerkar, T. (December 2015), Manhattan Seminary May Gain Condos to Fund Restoration. Retrieved from Curbed New York https://ny.curbed.com/2015/12/11/9892014/manhattan-seminary-may-gain-condos-to-fund-restoration Accessed on January 9, 2019

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