Sale expected soon at Cooper Union’s 51 Astor Place

By Lauren Elkies | January 11, 2008 03:36PM

The building that houses the engineering department at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has a buyer.
Edward J. Minskoff Equities hopes to close on the purchase of the building at 51 Astor Place soon, said Edward Minskoff, the firm’s president. Minskoff declined to reveal the pending deal’s sale price.

Minskoff has selected Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, designer of World Trade Center Tower 4, for the new green office building. The old building will be demolished.

The exterior of the 430,000-square-foot building between Third and Fourth avenues, near New York University, will be black granite with clear glass and a ribbing material. The building will rise 145 feet, with one section reaching 13 stories and a shorter part going up to 11 stories. Minskoff said the building will aim for the U.S. Green Building Council’s gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status.
“It’s very uniquely designed,” Minskoff said, calling the small office building “a jewel box.”
Minskoff said he has identified six potential tenants who could be interested in signing a lease in a less conventional business location.
Students will continue using the existing building while Cooper Union completes its new engineering school building across the street. Then the students will relocate to the new school building, and construction of the new 51 Astor Place will commence, Minskoff said.
The transition “will be seamless,” he said.

If the deal goes through, Minskoff expects to begin construction in February 2009 with a 2011 completion date.