HABITAT

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS

Barnard student’s death spawned Local Law 11 and changed the city.

The Co-op Where Appearances Matter

Written by Marianne Schaefer on September 12, 2018

Morningside Heights, Manhattan

Morningside Drive co-op acts like a landmark, even though officially it's not.

Co-op boards unlikely to intervene in doggy disputes.

Ignore house rules and city and state laws at your peril.

Morningside Gardens Co-Op Rolls WIth the Surprises

Written by Marianne Schaefer on March 01, 2017

Morningside Heights

As the scope of a capital project grew, a co-op board adjusted.

A co-op board forbids its staff from playing handyman after hours.

The Power of Unconventional Thinking

Written by Paula Chin on October 04, 2016

Morningside Heights

Good things happen when boards and their managers avoid the easy route.

 

In January we told you that the Jewish Theological Seminary had sold a chunk of its campus in Morningside Heights, plus limited development rights and an off-campus residence for $96 million. Now, the Commercial Observer reports, the developer Savanna has secured a $34.6 million loan from Pacific Western Bank to help fund its plan to erect a 250,000-square-foot luxury condo building on the former campus parcel on West 122nd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. The architecture firm Beyer Blinder Bell will design it.

Meanwhile, the seminary, which has hired the architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is moving ahead with plans to use its windfall to build a performing arts space, as well as a residence hall above a new library that will house the school’s collection of rare Judaic books, manuscripts and scrolls.

The 26-unit co-op at 431 West 121st Street in Manhattan “had some access leaks along one of the facades and we knew we were going to have to do the roof,” says Beth Markowitz, the principal in Merlot Management, the manager of the property. “That, in essence, is how the project started. It is something we had been talking about for a while.”

But the job turned out to be much bigger than anyone expected.

 

One dubious turn deserves another. The Jewish Theological Seminary, following the lead of its Morningside Heights neighbor Union Theological Seminary, has sold a chunk of its campus and air rights for $96 million to the developer Savanna, which plans to erect a 250,000-square-foot condominium building on the Broadway property.

The developer has tapped the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle to design the project. The seminary plans to use the proceeds from the sale to renovate existing buildings and add new facilities, including a performing-arts space and a residence hall, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Like Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary is cashing in on sky-high Manhattan land prices, which reached $284 per square foot last year, according to the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

“Most of these groups don’t have a lot of capital money available,” says Cushman’s David Lebenstein, who was not involved in the transaction. “When they can tap into hidden value in their real estate, it’s a big win for them.”

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