The Real Deal New York

Avenues hosts brokers to court Chelsea kids: PHOTOS

October 17, 2013 10:45AM
By Mark Maurer

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Avenues: The World School, the palatial, 1,600-seat private school in Chelsea, offered an after-school lesson Tuesday night to real estate brokers looking to better guide families weighing education — and living — options in the city.

The event, hosted by The Real Deal, attracted the likes of Halstead Property CEO Diane Ramirez, Douglas Elliman broker Ariel Cohen and Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant of “Million Dollar Listing New York” fame for a private tour and dinner reception at the 10-story, 215,000-square-foot facility that opened last year.

“We were told by many people that our school is having an impact on real estate prices [in Chelsea],” Benno Schmidt, chairman of Avenues, told The Real Deal. “We felt it would be mutually beneficial to reach out to the real estate world.”

Brokers, for their part, are often called on to enumerate the merits of area schools for buyer clients.

The $85 million for-profit Avenues, located in a converted warehouse at 10th Avenue and 25th Street, charges students $42,000 a year in tuition. It offers classes for nursery school through 12th grade and is part of the world’s first global school system. Mandarin or Spanish language classes — and an iPad – are an integral part of an Avenues student’s experience from kindergarten.

As Serhant walked the halls on the tour, he said he was reminded of his days at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

Flatiron District-based architecture firm Perkins Eastman and a team of designers crafted a loft-style look for the school, which reportedly counts Suri Cruise among its student body. On each of the 20,000-square-foot floors, there is a community room with a nearly 30-foot-high ceiling at the center.

“My friends and colleagues who have kids have had their entire lives upended to accommodate a proper education for them,” said Amir Korangy, publisher of The Real Deal, at the reception. “Real estate decisions are made based on what schools are nearby and available to families.”

Corcoran Group broker Eileen Robert said she was “blown away” by the facility, but noted that it is against the rules of a broker’s license to recommend one school over another to clients.

“I don’t think you can promise a school or a district,” Ramirez interjected, but a broker can lay out the options.

New construction around the adjacent High Line has created alternatives for larger condominium units, such as three- and four-bedrooms. Janet Weiner, a broker at Halstead, said increasingly families want the option to eventually combine units.

“A lot of families took a chance [enrolling their children] when the school opened,” said Emily Beare, a broker at CORE. “They were pioneers.”

  • Ellen

    We were taught in the brokerage licensing course that brokers may not discuss the merits of particular public schools with our customers. We can provide information about where customers can do their own research about public schools. If we have substantive knowledge of a private school then we can discuss that particular school. We cannot steer customers to a particular public school district. Brokers are licensed to make a market in real estate–we are not licensed experts in education nor are we qualified to advise parents about schools which are good fits for their children.

    • Mike

      Ah, you do realize most of the people that read this publication are brokers, developers, and other insiders. I’m sure the Real Deal’s targeted audience knows the law.

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