Builders stand to gain in pre-K space race

Mayor's push for universal preschool spurs spike in demand for community space

Bill de Blasio
Bill de Blasio

Developers are poised to cash in on a citywide grab for space to house preschool programs that Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing the city to fund.

Brokers have seen demand grow for community-facility spaces, which developers reserve for public use on the lower floors of buildings in return for permission to build taller towers.

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“Ever since [de Blasio] was elected, we are seeing a surge of requests for community-facility space, which usually is difficult for landlords to rent,” said James Famularo, an Eastern Consolidated broker who specializes in this type of property, to Crain’s.

Since the Department of Education has received 650 new applications for the program, prices are expected to hit record-highs for the spaces, usually occupied by senior centers and medical clinics at a fraction of the cost of normal retail tenants, Crain’s reported. De Blasio recently appealed to builders in a closed-door meeting in which he sought their cooperation for his affordable housing and universal pre-K initiatives. [Crain’s]Angela Hunt