The Real Deal New York

Exclusive Chelsea school attracts families and brokers

Two camps mingled during a private tour of the Avenues School Tuesday night

June 18, 2014 06:10PM
By Claire Moses

Realtors and staffers at private school Avenues agree on one thing: the arrival of this World School to a converted 215,000-square-foot warehouse on Tenth Avenue has had a definite influence on real estate in the area.

On Tuesday night, the two camps mingled during a private tour through the building, which was followed by a dinner organized by The Real Deal. It was the second such event put on at the school by TRD: the last one was in October 2013, after the facility opened.

“Realtors are often the first to meet new families who come to town,” said Alan Greenberg, the president of the Avenues School.

“The effect has been dramatic,” said Greenberg, adding that hundreds of families have relocated to be closer to the school. “Developers are taking notice.”

One effect: the development of more three- and four-bedroom units to accommodate families, one broker said.

Now in its second full year, the institution is already nearly outgrowing its building, which was formerly used to house props for Broadway productions. In two or three years, the school will have to expand its New York campus to cope with a growing student body.

The building on Tenth Avenue fits 1,600 students. This coming school year, as 11th grade is added, the student body will grow to roughly 1,300 students.

The search for a new location, though not very intense, has begun and is in the preliminary stages.

The next New York location will likely be in Brooklyn, said Daniel Kubin, associate director of admissions, since demand for schools like Avenues is growing there with an influx of wealthy families to the borough.

First, though, the school is looking forward to its international expansion. The next campus to open will be in Beijing. The school is also looking to expand to Sao Paulo and London. Stateside, Greenberg said he is looking at Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well.

Over the summer, renovations at the school will create more classroom space to accommodate more students. Some administrative staffers will move out of the building to a former gallery on 26th street as the tenth floor will be transformed into office space.

Avenues also functions as both a Spanish and a Chinese immersion school. Students sit at Harkness tables – designed to decentralize the learning experience – and use iPads and laptops provided by the school, said Soraya Diaz Tamayo, the school’s director of admissions. High schoolers have access to 3D printers for certain classes.

Avenues has also entered into multiple partnerships in the area. It is the first school to host its physical education classes at Chelsea Piers and art classes include field trips to local galleries.

“Parents are feeling more comfortable sending their kids downtown,” said TRD Publisher Amir Korangy. “There’s a need for schools like Avenues.”

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