By Carol Tannenhauser
Columbia University just added the former site of Fairway Market on West 125th Street and 12th Avenue to its sizable real estate portfolio. “The sale drew fierce competition from various developers of industrial, film studio and life sciences properties,” Commercial Observer reported, but Columbia emerged the winner, acquiring “the 2.5-acre site for $84 million in an all-cash deal.”
The site was previously owned by the Glickberg family, founders of Fairway Market. The latest owners of the Fairway chain closed the 125th Street store in the summer of 2020 after filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. Fairway was able to sell most of its stores — including the flagship store at 74th and Broadway — as it dealt with debt issues, but the store on 125th Street and 12th Avenue did not find a buyer, the Rag reported at the time. The store opened in 1995.
“[The property] spans three full city blocks between 12th Avenue and the Henry Hudson Parkway and comprises eight lots in total,” the Observer said. “The property currently includes a 68,000-square-foot parking lot; a 13,000-square-foot vacant warehouse; a 41,000-square-foot vacant building; and some prime, high-grossing billboard space that’s visible to highway drivers, as well as train riders on Amtrak’s Hudson line.”
There is no word yet what Columbia plans to do with the property, “which was the only space remaining between the university’s new Manhattanville campus and the Hudson River — [and] has the potential for 219,000 square feet of new development,” according to the Observer. “The high-profile location already sits within Columbia University‘s expansive zoning — the Special Manhattanville Mixed-Use Zoning District — which allows a myriad of potential uses.”
Clarification: The Glickberg family sold the Fairway chain several years ago. The original version of this story did not make that clear.