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PR- 047-05
February 4, 2005


New School to Create 600 Seats Through New Innovative Public-Private Partnership

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO Bruce Ratner today announced the creation of a new elementary/middle school to serve students in Lower Manhattan through a new innovative public-private partnership.  The $65 million, five-story school will cover approximately 100,000 square feet and create 600 seats for students in a neighborhood identified as having a high need for seats in Department of Education's (DOE) five-year capital plan.

The school will be part of a 1 million square foot, mixed-use building which will be built on land adjacent to NYU Downtown Hospital bound by Beekman, William and Spruce Streets.  It will also include ground floor retail space, market-rate rental apartments and residential condominium units. The school is the first to be built on privately-owned land and will engage the expertise of a private developer. Construction is expected to begin in February, 2006, and should be completed by September 2008.  The announcement was made at the Tweed Courthouse.

"We have made enormous progress in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan through strong public and private partnerships, and the new school we are announcing today is an important step in the process," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Building this new school fulfills a promise we have made to the residents of Lower Manhattan and support our goal of establishing Lower Manhattan as a family-friendly neighborhood.  I would like to thank Speaker Silver and Bruce Ratner for their leadership in this project and look forward to seeing it completed."

"This public school answers the immediate need to educate the children of our community in a neighborhood school," said Silver, who represents most of Lower Manhattan.  "I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Bruce Ratner for working with all of us in Lower Manhattan to ensure the school bell rings as part of Downtown's rebirth as a 24-hour community."

"This project is the latest example of the Department delivering on its pledge to place the interests of our children first," said Chancellor Klein.  "In announcing our City's most ambitious school capital plan ever, we identified where additional seats were needed most and today we are helping to meet the need by providing 600 seats here in lower Manhattan where the community continues to expand.  More schools, more seats, and more opportunities are all key elements in our overall reform effort."

"Educating young people is one of the most important jobs any city or state can undertake," said Bruce C. Ratner, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies.  "We are very pleased to offer 600 of Lower Manhattan's youngest residents a new school in which to begin their educational journeys and we are extremely grateful for the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Silver and Schools Chancellor Klein in making this new school possible."

This project expands the ability of the DOE to deliver on its promise to provide new school seats through alternative development methods.  While DOE has previously engaged in mixed-use projects on City-owned land, this new school project is the first of its kind, as this much-needed new school will be built on privately-owned land and will engage the expertise and efficiencies of a private developer.  Newly built schools have previously been constructed on public land only.   

Lower Manhattan has become a 24/7 neighborhood.  Student enrollment is projected to grow by approximately 3,400 students over the next five years and by 4,700 students over the next ten years in large part due to the expansion of housing units in the area.  Since 2000, 5,500 new housing units have been built in Lower Manhattan and another 15,000 will be built by 2008.  Schools in Lower Manhattan are dealing with the effects of this community expansion, and the DOE's Five-Year Capital Plan projects that in order to meet the need of the communities in the area, four new schools are needed. 

The entire building will be an approximately 1,000,000 square foot mixed-use building.  In addition to the new school, it will include 2 levels of below-grade parking, ground floor retail space, an ambulatory care facility for the NYU hospital, market-rate rental apartments and residential condominium units and 13,000 square feet of open public space in a plaza to the west of the building. 

The architect for the overall building project will be world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.  Mr. Gehry, a Pritzker Prize recipient, has completed such masterpieces as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles and is designing the new Brooklyn Nets Arena.  It is currently in the Schematic Design phase.


Edward Skyler/ Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Jerry Russo   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

Michele de Milly (Forrest City Ratner)   (212) 686-4551

Skip Carrier (Speaker Silver)   (518) 455-3888

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