St. John’s University has leased 71,000 square feet of space for its Manhattan campus at 51 Astor Place, between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village, Manhattan.

The new location will house St. John’s School of Risk Management, a key division of the University’s Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

The new site will replace the school’s Manhattan campus at 101 Murray Street in Tribeca, which the university sold for $223 million in July 2013. St. John’s plans to open 51 Astor Place for the 2014 fall semester. St. John’s will continue to operate at 101 Murray Street through the 2013-14 academic year.

The space is in Edward J. Minskoff’s new 12-story, 400,000-square-foot office building and is situated in an area that is home to more than 50,000 college students It is near cultural, academic and business institutions, the Midtown South business district, the emerging technology corridor, and subway transportation to and from all five boroughs.

51 Astor Place
51 Astor Place

Real estate news media have reported that the first tenant for the new building was 1stdibs, an online auctioneer, and that Twitter is considering taking space in the building, which is across the street from a building with an office occupied by Facebook.

The location will also be home to The Language Connection, St. John’s English language institute, and to continuing professional education and other academic programs.

“This location puts St. John’s in the heart of one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods with unlimited student engagement opportunities and access to a host of potential employers,” said St. John’s Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer Martha K. Hirst.

Designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, 51 Astor Place features a black-and-white granite lobby anchored by a 14-foot-tall red rabbit sculpture by Jeff Koons, and a public plaza at Astor Place and Third Avenue.

St. John’s will occupy the building’s first and second floors, and part of its concourse level, with a private entrance to be used by the University. The space will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and video-conferencing technology to bring off-site students and industry leaders from around the globe together in a virtual classroom to enhance the educational experience, as well as conference, faculty and student-gathering spaces, according to the announcement.

Minskoff Equities has a 99-year lease on the property, which is owned by The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The Cooper Union has granted St. John’s access for a select number of days each year to the historic Great Hall in the Foundation Building (7 East 7th Street), which has served as a platform for some of the earliest workers’ rights campaigns, and for the birth of the NAACP, the women’s suffrage movement and the American Red Cross; it has also served as the site of speeches by Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Clinton and Obama. The two schools will also share space at 51 Astor Place, with St. John’s providing The Cooper Union with access during certain hours each weekday to two classrooms and satellite office space.

“The new location occupies a unique intersection of several top academic institutions that share one of the world’s greatest city campuses,” says Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., provost of St. John’s University. “St. John’s has been proud to call New York City home for more than 140 years and 51 Astor Place provides a wonderful opportunity for the world-class academic programs we house at our Manhattan campus to continue to excel.”

Proceeds from the Murray Street building sale are being used to enhance the academic offerings, improve facilities and augment the school’s endowment, which allows for considerable ongoing financial aid to deserving St. John’s students, according to the university.

Founded in 1870, St. John’s is a Catholic and Vincentian university. The University has three residential New York City campuses—in Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan—in addition to a campus in Rome, Italy; an academic center in Oakdale, N.Y.; and study abroad locations in Paris, France, and Seville, Spain.

Students come from 47 states and 116 countries. The university offers 100 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the arts, business, education, law, pharmacy, and the natural and applied sciences.

Source: St. John’s University