Looks more out of place since the rest of the block was developed.
Condo to replace St. John's University building
Real estate investors Steven Witkoff, Howard Lorber and the Fisher family will buy the lower Manhattan academic facility
at 101 Murray St. for close to $200 million, demolish it and erect a new luxury condo in its place.
By Daniel Geiger
May 24, 2013 1:05 p.m
A partnership between real estate investors Steven Witkoff, Howard Lorber and the Fisher family is buying 101 Murray St., an academic building in lower Manhattan owned by St. John's University.
The group will pay nearly $200 million for the property, which they plan to knock down and build a new residential condominium tower in its place. The site can accommodate up to about 310,000 square feet of development and as much as 370,000 square feet if the buyers secure extra development rights from the city by agreeing to create a public plaza space at the site.
"We saw the success of 56 Leonard St. and that made us feel very good," Mr. Witkoff said, referring to another condo tower rising nearby being built by developer Hines. "I just believe that downtown is now commonly accepted as a wonderful neighborhood to live in."
The price, which equates to about $600 for every square foot that can be built on the site, surpassed even lofty expectations for the property. It also highlights how the city's soaring condo market has prompted developers to pay big for parcels on which to build.
"We saw the traction we got at 150 Charles St.," said Mr. Witkoff, speaking about a West Village residential development he is currently constructing. "It's not just foreign buyers, it's New Yorkers who are buying and they want to be in areas like the Village and TriBeCa."
Some real estate experts said that a project like 101 Murray St. will present a challenge even for a hot condo market. Mr. Witkoff and partners will likely create as many as 200 units, costing millions of dollars apiece—a test of just how many millionaire buyers there are in the market.
However, Mr. Witkoff has a track record of success. He said apartments at 150 Charles St. have been presold for huge sums. Elsewhere in the city, Mr. Witkoff is building a condo building next to Madison Square Park just north of the Flatiron Building at 1107 Broadway, which is also said to be attracting deep-pocketed buyers.
Cushman & Wakefield brokers Helen Hwang and Nat Rockett handled the sale of 101 Murray St. on behalf of St. John's University. Neither was available for comment.
In a statement in March when 101 Murray St. was put on the market, St. John's said it would seek to relocate staff and academic facilities from the building to another Manhattan location that it would lease.
"The current real estate conditions make this an opportune time to market the TriBeCa location, with an expected maximum return for reinvestment in academic programs and student life," said Martha Hirst, executive vice president, chief operating officer, and treasurer of St. John's University, in a March statement.
©2013 Crain Communications Inc.