Non-profit development a bright spot for building

Construction of office buildings and residential condominiums may be on hold in New York City. But new development continues at a rapid pace for New York City’s nonprofit organizations.

In some instances, the new construction marks a milestone for the neighborhood as the first new facilities erected for health care, education or worship in several decades.

What’s behind the healthy rate of activity? While large philanthropic gifts fund some projects, the main reason is that nonprofits have the opportunity to obtain tax-exempt financing from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Sept. 13 marked the opening for the Jack and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study, on the main campus of Yeshiva University, known as Wilf Campus, in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. The project represents the first new building constructed on the campus in the past 20 years.

The $32 million, 60,000-square-foot glass and stone multiuse building is located on West 186th Street between Amsterdam and Audubon avenues on a site that once served as a parking garage. The center has 50 offices for faculty and staff, plus 11 classrooms, including two lecture halls that can hold 70 students each. The center will also hold a satellite courtroom for the Beth Din of America, which is a court of Jewish law.

Meanwhile, what was once the site of the Beekman Cinema is now the home of the 16-story Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Imaging Center. The Center, which opened in September, located at 300 East 66th Street, was established with a gift of $50 million from the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Foundation.

The MSKCC Imaging Center includes two floors of advanced diagnostic imaging and treatment-planning services for breast and other cancers. State-of-the-art equipment includes nine digital mammography units and one stereotactic biopsy unit, as well as seven specialized scanners.

On Sept. 18, the topping-out celebration was held at the construction site of the new Lincoln Square Synagogue, located on Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street. The $30 million, three-story, 50,000-square-foot synagogue is one of the first two new synagogues to be built in New York City in nearly 20 years, and is the first new synagogue built on the West Side of Manhattan since the original Lincoln Square Synagogue was built in 1970.

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The other new synagogue under construction in New York City is the new $9 million, three-story Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, located at 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

In September, the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York approved a new home for the CUNY Law School. The school will own a condominium interest in a 15-story, 526,000-square-foot green building located at Two Court Square in Long Island City. The law school will occupy the first six floors of the building. According to the New York Law Journal, the school is purchasing the lower floors presently owned by Citigroup and paying approximately $150 million for the space.

The school will make a $50 million down payment with funds appropriated in 2008 by state lawmakers for construction of a new building. The balance is expected to be financed with either tax-exempt bonds or federal stimulus money. The first class is expected to move into the facility in fall 2011.

Construction is progressing on a new building for the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Construction is scheduled to be completed for occupancy in July 2011. The 613,000-square-foot expansion of the existing facilities includes a 14-story tower and a five-story urban campus commons.

A public hearing was held in October by the Dormitory Authority for the issuance of revenue bonds for approximately $490 million for New York University’s proposed projects. On the agenda was the issuance of $37 million of tax-exempt bonds to be used to purchase a condominium interest in a building located at 227 East 30th Street, for use as a clinical and research facility and administrative offices for NYU School of Medicine.

At its September board meeting, the Dormitory Authority approved a 30-year, fixed-rate, tax-exempt bond financing not to exceed $370 million for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The proceeds of the bonds are expected to be used to construct the Center for Science and Medicine research facility on East 102nd Street between Madison and Fifth avenues. Also at the meeting, the Dormitory board approved bond financing of $100 million to build the second phase of a two-phase major expansion project that includes new construction, renovation and equipment purchases for the Hospital for Special Surgery.

The Dormitory Authority provides financing and construction services to public and private universities, not-for-profit health-care facilities and other institutions that serve the public good. The Dormitory Authority, founded in 1944, is the largest higher education, health care and public purpose bonding and construction authority in the nation. As of Oct. 1, the Dormitory Authority had 677 projects in the pipeline valued at $6.7 billion. The Authority has an outstanding bond portfolio of more than $38 billion.

A number of new buildings are under construction in Queens. Construction is underway on Long Island Jewish Medical Center’s Katz Women’s Hospital, part of a new $300-million, 10-story pavilion being built in front of the existing 54-year hospital in New Hyde Park. Seven of the 10 floors of the new building will house the Katz Women’s Hospital. The 250,000-square-foot building will also house 88 private women’s health and acute care rooms. The top two floors of the new building will hold medical surgical beds.

A few miles away construction is slated to be completed in 2011 for a major modernization of the New York Hospital Queens. The new wing will add 80 beds, as well as operating rooms and catherization labs and establish a new ambulatory surgery center. Development also includes a three-level parking facility.