NYC’s largest student housing firm makes a $101M gamble on owning its own real estate

Educational Housing Services bought the property from Tessler Developments

Jeremy Lynford and 55 John Street (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps, iStock)
Jeremy Lynford and 55 John Street (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps, iStock)

A student housing company has purchased a Lower Manhattan building used as a Pace University dorm for about $101 million.

The nonprofit company Educational Housing Services has purchased the 17-story property at 55 John Street from Tessler Developments, according to property records. It had been the sublandlord at the building prior to buying it outright, sources familiar with the deal said.

Tessler had purchased the building in 2006 for $38 million from the Chetrit Group, property records show.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Tessler did not respond to a request for comment. EHS, which typically manages student housing on behalf of landlords and hasn’t owned its properties outright, also did not respond to requests for comment.

According to its website, EHS also manages spaces in St. George Towers in Brooklyn Heights, 1760 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side, 481 Eighth Avenue in Midtown West and 200 East 6th Street in the East Village.

The building at 55 John Street can hold a maximum of 499 students and costs between $8,500 and $9,380 per student, per semester, according to Pace.

In 2012, EHS founder George Scott and the company’s board agreed to a $5.5 million settlement with the state attorney general’s office over claims Scott and his wife siphoned money through a shell company. All five board members were also forced to resign and pay a penalty. Its current president is Jeffrey Lynford, who co-founded the Wellsford real estate companies and is a former vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.