Columbia Gives Local Businesses a Much-Needed Break

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the University decides to offer two months of free rent to qualifying local businesses.  

March 20, 2020

In light of the new and challenging realities resulting from COVID-19, Columbia University today announced that it would give its tenants two free months of rent.

Columbia University is waiving rent to local small businesses in its retail portfolio for the months of April and May to ease the hardships to these businesses and their employees due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. This action will provide economic relief to qualifying small businesses within Columbia’s 346,000 square feet of retail space in Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Manhattanville, and Washington Heights.

“Columbia cares deeply about the local businesses that serve our diverse community and we recognize the importance they have in the fabric of the neighborhood. This is the hardest of times for everyone, and noticeably for our retail partners, and we will do everything we can to help them get through this crisis,” said David Greenberg, executive vice president for University Facilities and Operations. 

“Maintaining a retail portfolio that does not lean on national, big-box chains requires unique support and creative thinking. We view ourselves as a partner with the small, local businesses within our portfolio and their employees, and today’s action, in these challenging times, is a demonstration of that partnership,” said Shari Colburn, vice president for Real Estate.

Several of Columbia’s food and beverage retail tenants remain open for takeout and delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic. The University is also providing a number of resources on the Neighbors Covid-19 News and Resources site.