The Real Deal New York

Universal pre-K sets schools scrambling for real estate

Nearly 70,000 tots will need seats by 2015
May 21, 2014 01:10PM

New York City’s new universal pre-kindergarten has day care providers and schools scrambling to accommodate tens of thousands of children who will enroll in September.

A total of 53,604 children will be preschoolers in the fall, and the city will need to seat nearly 70,000 by 2015. And more than half — 61 percent, or 42,143 — will be served by community-based groups.

Real estate service firm Denham Wolf is working with a number of clients looking for buildings to house the incoming students, director of leasing Stephen Powers told the New York Post, and the School Construction Authority is as well.

Because classrooms need bathrooms, two exits, filtered air, fire and life-safety equipment, buildouts for city pre-schools are more expensive than regular office space, Powers told the paper, and the Department of Health is getting $10,250 per child and working with individual schools to pay them part of that money. Still, one school administrator told the paper, “it will not cover the costs.”

Private schools are expected to come out on top of the race for school space, Denham Wolf principal Paul Wolf told the Post, because they can afford to pay higher rents and can handle pricey infrastructure requirements.

“I’ve heard it referred to as an ‘arms race,’” Wolf told the paper, “because … if there is a good space that works for a school, they want it.” [NYP, 4th item] — Julie Strickland