Volume 75, Number 51 | May 10 - 16 2006

A rendering of the new School of Visual Arts dorm slated for the East Village. The view is of the Third Ave. side.

S.V.A. to build dorm on Third Ave. site that N.Y.U. originally wanted

By Lincoln Anderson

Following New York University’s calling off negotiations for a vacant development site on Third Ave. and 10th St., the School of Visual Arts last Thursday announced it had signed a long-term lease for the property, 47 Third Ave., with plans of opening a new 100-student residence hall.

The new S.V.A. dorm is scheduled to open in August 2007 and will be the school’s fourth Manhattan residence hall. The new facility will bring the total capacity of S.V.A.’s dorms to 1,050, or one-third of the undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

The new dorm will feature apartment-style living with a mix of one- and two-bedroom units.

“In light of the college’s continued growth, this was a terrific opportunity to meet increasing demand,” said Javier Vega, S.V.A. executive director of admission and student affairs. “We are very pleased to have secured this caliber housing in Manhattan, where students can take advantage of all that the city has to offer.”

The long-term lease is with 47 Third Venture, LLC, and the building will be developed by Levine Builders, the contracting and construction management company responsible for S.V.A.’s New Residence dorm at 215 E. 23rd St.

The Third Ave. site, formerly home to the Bendiner & Schlesinger blood labs, is located between two N.Y.U. dormitories, Alumni Hall, which houses 500 students, on the block to the south, and the Third Avenue North dorm, with 950 students, a block to the north. Two and a half blocks away, a new 26-story, 700-student dormitory is being built for N.Y.U. on E. 12th St. on the site of the former St. Ann’s Church.

N.Y.U. had been negotiating for the Third Ave. and 10th St. site, but five days after a March 29 Villager article exposing these negotiations, Washington Square News, the university’s student newspaper, reported N.Y.U. had called off the talks at an unspecified date prior to The Villager article’s publication. Neighbors had been angered to hear of the negotiations, charging they should have been notified the university was interested in the site. Tension in the neighborhood was already high because of the St. Ann’s site dorm — which will be the East Village’s tallest building — coupled with the university’s ongoing failure to make public a master plan of its future growth in the Village area.

Asked if there was a competition with N.Y.U. for the Third Ave. site, Samantha Hoover, an S.V.A. spokesperson, said, “This was not a bidding war between S.V.A. and N.Y.U. The opportunity to acquire the lease at 47 Third Ave. was presented to us after the deal cratered with N.Y.U. The deal came together very quickly. The time frame was, beginning to end, approximately six weeks.”

Hoover said S.V.A. C.F.O. Gary Shillet gave the following statement regarding vying with N.Y.U. for student housing: “Our intention is not to compete with N.Y.U. However, should an opportunity present itself, we will pursue it vigorously and judiciously.”

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