Mapping the RE holdings of NYC universities

May.May 30, 2018 07:30 AM

When Seth Pinsky spent his first year at Columbia University in 1989, the school had to work a lot harder to persuade students that its Upper Manhattan location was a safe place.

“Their whole pitch was: We have a real campus, unlike other schools in New York. You can be safe here. We have control of our immediate neighborhood, so we make sure that nothing too scary happens in Morningside Heights,” the RXR Realty executive and adjunct senior research scholar at Columbia recalled.

Fast-forward nearly three decades, and the city is seeing plummeting crime rates and skyrocketing property values. And Columbia — now about halfway through its expansion plan spanning roughly 17 acres — is causing more concerns about gentrification than safety.

NYU is upping its real estate book as well, most notably with plans for a 735,000-square-foot building at 181 Mercer Street in Greenwich Village.

The higher-education giants took the top two spots in TRD’s analysis by notably wide margins. Columbia came in first with roughly 14.9 million square feet across 232 properties, and NYU followed with about 12.8 million square feet across 110 properties. (By comparison, the city’s largest commercial landlords, SL Green Realty and Vornado Realty Trust, reported at the end of last year that they had stakes in Manhattan buildings totaling 29.5 million and 23 million square feet, respectively.)

The two universities essentially bookend Manhattan, with Columbia’s stronghold Uptown in Morningside Heights, and now Harlem, and NYU’s Downtown in and around Greenwich Village. NYU also owns the Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center, among other real estate holdings in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The numbers drop significantly after that.

Related Articles

Cammeby's International Group founder Rubin Schron and, from top: 194-05 67th Avenue, 189-15 73rd Avenue and 64-05 186th Lane (Credit: Google Maps)

Ruby Schron lands $500M refi for sprawling Queens apartment portfolio

Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out

WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling

Thor Equities' Joe Sitt and a closeup of 545 Madison Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

Thor Equities loses 545 Madison Avenue

Daily Digest Thursday

Legislation introduced to protect tenants in ‘keyless’ buildings, Compass pushes back against WeWork comparison: Daily digest

Ben Carson on how Opportunity Zones are unlike red and black ants: TRD Miami Showcase & Forum

32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg (Credit: Facebook, iStock)

32BJ expects fight with real estate industry over contract renewal

South Florida developers riff on the shift from condos to rentals: TRD Miami Showcase & Forum