"Manhattan may be a bit large to be considered a college town. But the rapid expansion of dozens of postsecondary schools across the borough in recent years has added a hard-to-ignore collegiate flavor.
As enrollments have surged, so too have the number of dormitories, which are increasingly being built not by the universities themselves, but by third-party developers, who take on site acquisition, construction and leasing.
...A recent example is 180-182 Broadway, a 23-story dorm at John Street in the financial district that SL Green, along with Wharton Properties and the Harel Group, an Israeli insurance company, built for nearby Pace University.
About 230 rooms in the top 20 floors of the building provide housing for around 600 students and are leased to Pace for 30 years.
The developers are hanging on to a window-lined retail space at the base of the building, which faces the new Fulton Center transit hub. In 2014, two tenants, Urban Outfitters and TD Bank, will open locations in the space, which is a commercial condo, Mr. Herschenfeld said. The commercial condo arrangement is a way for a nonprofit organization like Pace to separate retail development from more traditional uses of its property.
For decades, Pace was primarily a commuter school and made do with dorms at One Pace Plaza, a 1969 building across from City Hall that has 500 beds, as well as classrooms and a library.
But today, Pace enrolls 5,500 undergraduates in Manhattan, up from 4,700 in 2008, officials say (the university also has a campus in suburban Pleasantville, N.Y.). And many come from out of state, with 72 percent of this year’s first-year students living in dorms, said William McGrath, Pace’s chief administrative officer.
Around the corner, SL Green, in a partnership with the Naftali Group and Harel, is also at work on 33 Beekman Street, a new 34-story, 384-room dorm for 770 students that will have a small bookstore at street level and a fitness center upstairs. The high-rise, which Pace will also lease for 30 years, is to open in 2015.
Record-high land costs, coupled with a desire not to mire balance sheets in debt because of expensive construction projects, has made leasing attractive to many schools.
“It wasn’t feasible to build new dorms ourselves,” said Mr. McGrath, who initially talked with landlords about converting empty offices to dorms. Ultimately, though, he decided it was easier to create small, shareable rooms in a custom-built facility.
For dorm life, Pace students pay $15,800 for the nine-month academic year, or about $1,760 a month, which includes furniture and utilities. In contrast, a typical downtown studio, which does not come with beds or electricity, is about $2,700 a month, according to a Douglas Elliman rental report from November."
Read the full article on the New York Times web site: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/realestate/commercial/600-college-stud...