Columbia University Announces Plans to Convert Low Library into Luxury Apartments

Graphic by Gilda Petrolani

In a stunning move that has shocked the Columbia University community, university officials have announced plans to convert the iconic Low Library into luxury apartments.

The 120-year-old building, which currently houses the University’s administration offices, will be gutted and transformed into a high-end residential complex, complete with private rooftop pools, marble countertops, and 24-hour concierge service.

“We believe that the Low Library is an underutilized asset, and we want to unlock its full potential,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger in a statement to the university community. “By converting it into luxury apartments, we can generate much-needed revenue for the university while also providing an unparalleled living experience for our wealthy students, which we assume is all of them.”

According to sources close to the project, the apartments will be marketed primarily to international students and wealthy donors, who will be offered exclusive access to the building’s historic reading room and other amenities.

The announcement has drawn swift criticism from student groups, who argue that the move represents a betrayal of the university’s commitment to academic excellence and public service.

“This is a shameful attempt to prioritize profits over people,” said Emma Goldman, a senior and member of the Columbia University Democrats. “The Low Library is a symbol of our academic heritage and should be preserved as a public space, not sold off to the highest bidder.”

In response to the backlash, University officials have emphasized that the conversion project is still in the early planning stages and that they are open to feedback from the community.

“We understand that this is a controversial proposal, and we want to ensure that all voices are heard,” said Bollinger. “We remain committed to our mission of providing a world-class education to our students, and we believe that this project will help us to do so while also generating much-needed revenue for the university.”

As of press time, there is no timeline for the conversion project, but University officials have indicated that they plan to move forward with the proposal despite the criticism.