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St. John's University to Relocate Manhattan Campus to 51 Astor Place

School of Risk Management, Davis Library and State-of-the-Art Classrooms to Occupy 71,000 Square Feet of Space in New Minskoff Equities Office Building
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

St. John’s University announced today that it has leased 71,000 square feet of space for its Manhattan campus at 51 Astor Place, Edward J. Minskoff’s new 12-story, 400,000-square-foot office building that occupies the block between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village, Manhattan.  Situated in an area that is home to more than 50,000 college students, 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 and a global leader in risk and insurance education and training.  The School of Risk Management contains the Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Library, which comprises the world’s largest collection of risk and insurance literature, policies, and related documents, and serves as a center for study and research for students of risk management, insurance, and actuarial science around the world. The location will also be home to The Language Connection, St. John’s intensive 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, who led the University’s in-house real estate team.  She noted that a portion of the developed space was zoned for educational purposes.  “We are extremely pleased to have collaborated with Edward Minskoff and his team to reach an agreement that provides St. John’s the perfect Manhattan location where our students and faculty will thrive.”

St. John’s plans to open 51 Astor Place for the 2014 fall semester. 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.  The new campus is located near leading cultural, academic and business institutions, the Midtown South business district, the emerging technology corridor, and subway transportation to and from all five boroughs.

“I am very happy to have reached a lease agreement with St. John’s University,” said Edward J. Minskoff, President, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.  “51 Astor Place’s forward-thinking infrastructure allows tenants to have a high-performance platform for employees and clients, and I am confident that St. John’s will flourish in the space.”

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.

Minskoff Equities has a 99-year lease on the property, which is owned by The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Through a separate Memorandum of Understanding, 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.”

“St. John’s University, its students and faculty are a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” said The Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha.  “We look forward to exploring ideas and opportunities to work together as academic neighbors with many strengths and common interests.”

St. John’s will continue to operate at its current Manhattan location at 101 Murray Street through the 2013-14 academic year.  The proceeds from the Murray Street building sale are being used to enhance the University’s academic offerings, improve facilities and augment the school’s endowment, which allows for considerable ongoing financial aid to deserving St. John’s students.

In addition to Ms. Hirst, University Associate General Counsel Nada Llewellyn and Vice President of Facilities Brij Anand comprised the in-house team for St. John's.  Thomas Henry and Daniel Backer of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as outside counsel to St. John’s.  Jeffrey M. Sussman, Executive Vice President, headed the team from Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc. 

About St. John’s University
Founded in 1870, St. John’s is a Catholic and Vincentian university that prepares students for ethical leadership in today’s global society. 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, NY; and study abroad locations in Paris, France, and Seville, Spain. 

Students come from 47 states and 116 countries. The University offers more than 100 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the arts, business, education, law, pharmacy, and the natural and applied sciences. Students also benefit from academic service-learning activities, extensive global studies opportunities, and 17 BIG EAST, Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams.