New School pays $153M for 180K sf Village building

Samson Associates owned 34-42 West 14th Street since 1985

Tokumbo Shobowale and 34-42 West 14th Street in Greenwich Village
Tokumbo Shobowale and 34-42 West 14th Street in Greenwich Village

Call it an academic arms race. Even as Columbia and New York universities pursue billion-dollar expansion plans, the New School quietly picked up a 180,000-square-foot building in the heart of Greenwich Village, according to property records filed with the city Wednesday. 

The school paid $153 million for the five-story building at 34-42 West 14th Street, which was owned by the Chira family’s Samson Associates since 1985, property records show. Samson, an affiliate of Samson Storage, put the property on the market in March without an asking price.

In a statement, the New School’s COO Tokumbo Shobowale said the acquisition “substantially reduce our operating costs by decreasing our rent obligations.”

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A Meridian Capital Group [TRDataCustom] team led by Helen Hwang and Karen Wiedenmann represented the seller.

Located between Fifth and Sixth avenues, the building has 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Tenants include Harvest Collegiate High School, the Legacy School for Integrated Studies, party-supplies chain Party City, sporting-goods store JackRabbit and New York Sports Club.

Shobowale said the school would keep the building’s commercial tenants in place “for now.” But, “Over the coming years, as leases expire, we will turn the building into a place for teaching and learning on our campus.”

In addition to the New School, Columbia and NYU have aggressively snapped up Manhattan properties over the years. Columbia University’s 25-year expansion plan hit a milestone this fall when it opened two buildings on its 17-acre Manhattanville campus. And just last month, New York University revealed plans for its $1 billion academic building at 181 Mercer Street. A court gave the project the green light in 2015 after years of opposition from local residents, students and preservationists.