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Save Floridita!

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The following letter will be sent Phil Silverman, Deputy Vice President for Real Estate, and Laverna Fountain, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs, within the week. Dear Mr. Phil Silverman and Ms. Laverna Fountain, We, the undersigned, as students of Columbia University, are extremely disappointed at the tactics employed by the university in its negotiations with Mr. Ramon Diaz, owner of Floridita restaurant, located on 3297 Broadway, in the expansion footprint for the planned Manhattanville campus. We are signing this to confirm attendance at an event on Saturday, February 14th, 2009 in support of Mr. Diaz. It is our understanding that you made verbal promises to accommodate Mr. Diaz in or around the expansion site and used his support to justify the university’s plans in West Harlem, only to turn around and begin claiming that the university has no responsibility to include his business. On your website, you claim that “we at Columbia University take pride in our community and embrace opportunities to give back to the neighborhood we call home.” Floridita is a community institution that has served this neighborhood since 1965, and your treatment of the restaurant is inconsistent with your stated ideals. As such, we demand: 1) That Mr. Diaz’s current lease be honored until its legal expiration in 2015, regardless of whether or not the ESDC has the right to utilize eminent domain to terminate it prematurely, unless the termination is by mutual agreement with Mr. Diaz 2) That you accommodate the Floridita restaurant either within the expansion footprint or in a neighborhood site agreeable to him under reasonably and mutually-agreed upon terms.


Student Coalition on Expansion and Gentrification (SCEG) at Columbia University


Op-Ed about Floridita in Columbia Spectator:
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