The CUNY Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue and the John Jay College building at 59th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
Dear Commons Community,
The City University of New York is looking to generate revenue for academic programs by selling off some of its 300-building portfolio. The Facilities Planning and Management Committee on CUNY’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $750,000 contract with Real Estate Solutions Group to assess the value of all of its buildings, according to the New York Post. The review will likely also look at possibly selling air rights above CUNY properties.
CUNY has considered selling the unused John Jay College building at 59th Street and Amsterdam Avenue for years, and one trustee brought up selling the CUNY Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue by the Empire State Building. However, CUNY spokesperson Frank Sobrino told the Post that the Graduate Center is not for sale.
CUNY has 25 colleges, including senior colleges and community colleges. Its 300 buildings span the five boroughs. By comparison, Columbia University has more than 230 properties and New York University has 110, according to The Real Deal’s 2018 ranking of university property holdings.
Real Estate Solutions Group should be able to prepare its report in six or seven months, laying out the values and options for the potential sale or development of CUNY’s properties.
If anything comes of this, it will likely involve a Manhattan property. It is also likely that any sale of a building will take a few years to go through the bureaucratic channels. Unless the law has changed, it is my understanding that while CUNY and/or the State Dormitory Authority own buildings, it is the City of New York that owns the land.
NOTE: My CUNY colleague, David Chapin, alerted me to this story.