518 W. 111th Street Renovation

The exterior of 611 W. 112th Street, a white brick apartment building.

About this Project

Columbia University Facilities and Operations is initiating an interior renovation at 518 W. 111th Street, a residence building for graduate students and faculty. The building had significant water damage due to ongoing plumbing issues and the interior needs to be renovated to correct those issues. The project includes a building-wide replacement of the floor structures; structural work in the basement; repairs of the parapets; new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; new interior finishes; and new fire protection systems.


Regular work hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The project is expected to be completed in January 2025.

Project Scope and Phases

The project will include a complete interior renovation of the existing apartments within their demising walls, including updates to the building systems and complying with sustainability goals. The overall scope of work includes the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Mobilization (December 2023)
    • Erection of a sidewalk bridge in front of the building
    • Temporary barriers for deliveries will be installed at the front of the building
    • Installation of an access gate in front of the building courtyard
    • Delivery of equipment, tools, and materials
  • Phase 2: Interior Demolition (December 2023 to March 2024)
    • Shut-off of electrical and plumbing, and installation of temporary lighting, electrical and plumbing
    • Removal of existing apartment partitions, fixtures, and finishes
    • Daily debris pick-up at front of building
  • Phase 3: Structural Work Completion (February 2024 to March 2024)
    • Reinforcement and repair of existing wood joists
    • Removal of temporary structural shoring work
    • Framing of new walls and ceilings
    • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing roughing infrastructure work
  • Phase 4: Interior Work Completion (April 2024 to December 2024)
    • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work
    • Drywall installation, plastering, and painting
    • Installation of lighting and plumbing fixtures
    • Installation of interior finishes and cabinets
  • Phase 5: Roofing Installations (April 2024 to July 2024)
    • Installation of steel dunnage at the roof to support HVAC equipment
    • Installation of HVAC units on the roof
    • Patching roof penetrations from new HVAC units
  • Phase 6: Regulatory testing, sign-offs (November 2024 to January 2025)
    • Fire sprinkler alarm test
    • Fire sprinkler system test
    • Local municipal regulatory inspections

NOTE: The construction timeline is an estimate only that is subject to change due to field conditions and other external factors.

    What to Expect

    Although contractors carefully stage construction activities to minimize disruption to the surrounding community, the nature of construction work is such that some disruptions will occur.

    • Expect noise and other impacts typically associated with construction projects.
    • A designated parking lane will be set up in front of the building for deliveries and a trash container. Trucks will back up into the designated parking lane in front of the building to perform deliveries to help mitigate construction traffic and idling.
    • A sidewalk bridge will be constructed in front of the building to protect from material deliveries. Pedestrians will be able to walk in front of the building below the sidewalk bridge.
    • Deliveries will be made to the sidewalk bridge and directly through building windows. A flag person will be available to direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic during truck deliveries. Note that there may be several deliveries with heavier materials that may require pedestrians to be re-routed to the sidewalk across the street.

    Clean Construction Measures

    Columbia University – with the assistance of third-party environmental experts – formed a comprehensive clean construction program. The clean construction program for 518 W. 111th Street follows the same model that has been implemented for Columbia’s development at Manhattanville.

    • Noise mitigation: use of electric equipment/tools (whenever possible) over fueled equivalents.
    • Dust mitigation: dry site conditions and work areas will be dampened; use of wet methods or HEPA vacuums; maintain a clean public site area.
    • Integrated pest management: routine servicing will be performed by a NYSDEC licensed vendor knowledgeable about construction practices and protocol; onsite monitoring will be conducted using the least toxic means – no excessive use of bait or treatments.


    As part of Columbia's stated commitment to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, the building will be renovated to be fully electric and will not have any fossil fuel connections. The building will also have notable sustainability features including high efficiency HVAC systems for central and heating; new building insulation; locally sourced and low VOC finishes; and new LED lighting throughout the building.

    Employment and Construction Opportunities

    Columbia has a long-held commitment of working with minority-, woman-, and locally owned (MWL) businesses and prioritizing the employment of a qualified, diverse, and local workforce, consistently setting ambitious employment and contracting goals. For this project, Columbia has set construction goals that at least 35 percent of all construction dollars be spent with MWL firms and at least 40 percent of the labor force made up of minority, women, and local construction workers for the duration of the project.

    Ongoing Communications

    The project team will provide periodic project updates during the course of the project to preview impactful work that will be occurring.

    For More Information

    If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center at (212) 854-2222, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or email [email protected]  (emails responded to during normal business hours). We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we perform this work.