NYU snaps up 12th Street building for $134M

By Amy Tennery | January 28, 2010 02:35PM

New York University has spent $134 million to buy a 190,000-square-foot building at 120 East 12th Street in Greenwich Village, approximately a year into its 30-year lease with Hudson Companies, according to a tip from PropertyShark.com.

The school had been using the East 12th Street Hudson-owned building called Founders Hall, with whom the school had designed the 26-story structure, as a 733-bed dorm. The school signed a lease December 2008, with an option to buy, and students moved in in May 2009. NYU plans to continue to use it for that purpose, said John Beckman, a school spokesperson.

The deal, which closed Jan. 21 and was filed with the city two days ago, comes on the heels of the school’s $65 million purchase of the Forbes building at 60 Fifth Avenue. The school has been working on a long-term expansion plan, according to a written statement released earlier this month from Michael Alfano, an executive vice president of NYU. The expansion will rely on “community-oriented planning principles,” Alfano said, with an “emphasis on acquiring existing structures rather than resorting to new construction.”

Once the home of St. Ann’s Church, Hudson purchased the East 12th Street lot in 2004 and developed the space, while maintaining the original building’s façade. Alan Bell, a principal with Hudson, said that the company had considered constructing a condo and hotel in the space, but scrapped that plan when it was approached by NYU and the New School.

Bell said both schools were interested in developing there, but NYU was quicker on the draw.

“Same [price was offered] for both, it was just a ‘who got there first’ kind of situation,” Bell said.

As Hudson principal David Kramer previously told The Real Deal, the company felt that striking a deal with NYU was “less risky” than developing a condo and hotel.

The property has garnered some controversy since its inception. There was a backlash from the community over Hudson’s decision to build in the former home of St. Ann’s Church. But, as Bell pointed out, the church was not landmarked and the space was fair game.

“At the end of the day,” Bell said, “it’s a pretty innocuous 26-story building.”

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