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Manhattan Self-Storage Owner Continues to Battle Case of Eminent Domain


The case of a self-storage owner battling Columbia University over a proposed expansion continues June 1.  

The New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division ruled in December that the state could not use eminent domain—state seizure of private property for the “public good” in exchange for market-rate compensation—on behalf of Columbia University to take land from self-storage owner Nicholas Sprayregen and the owner of two gas stations. Sprayregen owns four Tuck-It-Away Self Storage facilities.

Columbia unveiled plans to build a satellite campus in 2003 and has since attempted to obtain parts of a 17-acre site in Upper Manhattan for its expansion. After Sprayregen, who owns several self-storage facilities in the Manhattanville area, refused to sell his property, Columbia sought to obtain the land through eminent domain, claiming the neighborhood in question is “blighted.” 

The Empire State Development Corp., the state body that approved eminent domain for the project last December, formally appealed the decision in January and will present its oral arguments on June 1 alongside the respondents.

University administrators say they have no alternate plan if the ruling is upheld.

Source:  Columbia Spectator,  As Eminent Domain Appeal Nears, No Plan B for M’ville, Admins Say 

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