City Faces Shortage of Student Housing

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Thousands of students, physicians, medical researchers, and professionals are flocking to the metropolitan area. Unfortunately, New York City does not have adequate housing to meet the demand to serve these individuals. Numerous nonprofit organizations and developers are now working in tandem to develop alternatives sites for residence.

Students from around the world apply for admission to New York University. Earlier this year, NYU announced that applications for freshman admission topped 35,000 for the first time, triple the amount received in 2001. In April, NYU called off negotiations with the developers of a proposed new dormitory on a vacant development site at Third Avenue and East 10th Street.

Instead, the School of Visual Arts last month announced plans to open a new residence hall at the site.The 100-bed facility is scheduled to open in August 2007. It will be the fourth residence hall for undergraduate and graduate enrollment. The residence hall is being developed by a joint venture between Levine Builders and an investor group who entered into a long term lease with the college. It is the second transaction between Levine Builders and the college. In spring 2002, the first students moved into a 22-story residence hall at 215 E. 23rd Street. The building was purchased by the school prior to its opening.


In 2007, NYU students are expected to move into a new dormitory a few blocks away from the Third Avenue site. The Hudson Companies is developing a 26-story dormitory for the university at 120 E. 12th St. The dormitory will be built on the current site of St. Ann’s Church, on East 12th Street between Third and Fourth avenues. Hudson purchased the site in December 2004 and acquired air rights from Cooper Station Post Office on Fourth Avenue at 11th Street. Built as the 12th Street Baptist Church in 1847, the church later served as Temple Emanuel-El and then was acquired by St. Ann’s, a Roman Catholic parish on Astor Place. Hudson is leasing the property to NYU for a term of 30 years with a purchase option.

“In order to diversify the projects which the company is developing, we did not want to place all of our development eggs in the new construction condominium nest,” a principal at the Hudson Companies, David Kramer, said. “We have previously developed staff housing and understand the critical importance housing plays for many of our leading nonprofits.”

In 1997, Hudson Companies and the Related Companies LP were designated by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to develop 2,000 residential units in a neighborhood to be called Riverwalk on Roosevelt Island. “As we stood on the island trying to determine what to build on the site,” Mr. Kramer said, “we looked across the river to hospital row and speculated that hospitals such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering and New York Weill Cornell might need residences. Later, during discussions with the hospitals, we were overwhelmed by their demand for affordable housing.”


In June 2003, the joint venture completed the 256-unit residence for staff members of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Later that year, the joint venture opened another residence with a total of 136 apartments for the staff of New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. The properties were built by the joint venture and sold to the hospitals.

Riverwalk Place, a new residential condominium building, opened in January 2006. It included 88 additional apartments developed for and sold to New York Weill Cornell. “In this case, the nonprofits investment served as a catalyst for the future development of the community,” Mr. Kramer said.

In February, the developers broke ground on another condominium development, Riverwalk Landing. The developers are in discussion with a number of nonprofits to purchase residences for staff members in the new building, which will be ready for occupancy next year.


Fordham University plans a major expansion at its Lincoln Center campus. Last August, the university announced a multi-year, $1 billion proposed master plan to add 1.5 million square feet of academic, student activity, and dormitory space at its Manhattan campus. This plan must win approval from the city.

Fordham’s seven-acre Lincoln Center campus was originally built to accommodate about 3,500 students; there are now more than 8,000 students enrolled. The development of the Lincoln Center campus will begin with the expansion of Quinn Library and the construction of a new Law School building, a new student center, a dormitory, and additional parking. The plan includes a 26-story dormitory at West 60th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. In the second phase, the law school building will be replaced by a 21-story dormitory.

Last December, New York Law School officially opened its first residence hall at 81 E. 3rd St. in the East Village.The 13-story building houses a total of 99 students in two- and threebedroom apartments. The school entered into a long-term lease on the building with its developer, 81 East Third Street Realty Group LLC, a partnership led by Alex Lokshin.

In August 2005, Brooklyn Law School’s new student residence, Feil Hall, opened in Brooklyn Heights, three blocks from the law school’s main building. The 239-unit residence provides housing for approximately 360 students. The hall was named in honor of the Feil family in recognition of its $4 million gift to the Residence Hall Fund. Jeffrey Feil is president of the Feil Family Foundation and CEO of the Feil Organization, one of the largest privately owned real estate companies in America. He is a 1973 graduate of the law school and a member of its board of trustees.

In fall 2003, Lenfest Hall, Columbia Law School’s newest residential building, opened its doors to students. The luxury high-rise located on West 121st Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive contains 181 studios and 28 one-bedroom units. The law school received a gift of $15 million from H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, an alumnus of the class of 1958.

In August 2004, the Fashion Institute of Technology purchased a 15-story former manufacturing and office building at 406 W. 31st St. to be converted into 493 apartments for students.The college of the State University of New York paid $48 million for the building and expects to spend approximately $64 million on renovations. The residence hall, which is expected to serve 1,100 students, is scheduled to open in August. The 320,000-square-foot 100-year-old building will be gutted and transformed into two-, three-, and four-bed suites.

In 2001, developer Arun Bhatia completed a 46-story mixed-use tower at 233-235 E. 55th St. The lower 31 floors of the tower, which have 120 apartments, serve as a residence hall for students at Marymount Manhattan College. The top 15 floors, called the Capri, have a total of 40 rental apartments that are presently being offered for sale as condominium residence. The $57 million project, the first dormitory for the school, was jointly owned by the college and Mr. Bhatia. The financing for the college’s portion of the tower came from the sale of $39.5 million in tax-exempt bonds by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Even with all of this construction and these many deals, much more needs to be done to meet the city’s growing needs.

Mr. Stoler is a television broadcaster. He can be reached at

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