Columbia University, NYU; Apartment Buildings - Real Estate Empires

By
Real Estate Agent with The Corcoran Group

Washington Square, Greenwich VillageSummer is almost over as evidenced yesterday by the crowds of NYU students in Greenwich Village. With a little help from their parents they moved into dorms and apartments in Greenwich Village.  Yesterday was NYU "Move -in Day." 

A similar scenario takes place in Morningside Heights as Columbia University students begin moving in to their dorms and luxury apartments that Columbia owns.

Both NYU and Columbia have been building real estate empires in their respective Manhattan neighborhoods. Both private non profit institutions have real estate holdings worth more than half a billion dollars. Columbia ownes more than 7,000 apartments and it's real estate is worth approximately $635 million. This number excludes the value of wharehoused property it has not yet converted to educational use.

Columbia Manhattanville campusColumbia has ambitious plans to expand the campus from Morningside Heights to include 18 acres from 129th St. to 133rd Street in the Manhattanville section of West Harlem.

The expansion plan will take 25 years with phase 1 to be completed by 2015. The new campus will utilize and convert some existing manufacturing plants in the Manhattanville industrial section including the old Studebaker plant. Open public roads and spaces through the Manhattanville campus will connect West Harlem to the Hudson river waterfront.

While there has been growing community opposition both school's strategy is to build prestige by buying up real estate in an effort to recruit top faculty and students from around the world by offering apartment housing perks in Manhattan.

Columbia University bought the first 15 floors, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments in a new luxury condo at 455 Central Park West. They paid $45.38 million for 53 luxury condos an average of about $1 million per apartment. 

Many community leaders feel both these private non profit institutions are benefiting at tax payers expense by reducing the city tax revenue by taking so many buildings off the city's tax rolls. There is no doubt that Columbia and NYU bring cultural, scientific and intellectual prestige to NYC.

Many graduates will choose to live in NYC as their careers will be here. They will pay city and state income tax. They might even start whole new industries. They will buy real estate. Manhattan attracts graduates from top schools from all over the country and abroad. More than 50% of Wharton Business School's class of 2007 have moved to Manhattan.

To all the new students entering NYU, Columbia and all the other fine undergraduate, graduate, law schools and med schools throughout NYC, I wish you all much success.

Parents from all over the country are investing in Manhattan real estate while their children are attending schools here. Many parents are buying condos for their adult children and for themselves and other family members. For many it is a great investment. Children get housing while in school and starting their careers, the parents get a great asset and a pied-a-terre in Manhattan.

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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mitchell, I liked your post.  I'm an old New Yorker, and I got a little homesick reading it.

Parents with children attending Georgetown and George Washington Universities often buy condos for their children.  In most cases, the appreciation on an efficiency apartment has covered the cost of the entire education.  Smart parents whose children graduated when the market was bad held onto their units and rented them out.  Those selling today are often adding costs of law or medical school covered by the condo or little house they bought 10 years ago. 

Aug 27, 2007 05:31 AM #1
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I've had the same thing here.  Parents buying homes for their children to live in while in school. 

My best was a grad student at the UofMD.  She purchased a home within a mile of the University, rented out the basement and one bedroom. 

Mortgage payment - $1,025 a month.

Rent collected monthly - $1150. 

Two year leases with parent's signature.

Such a deal. 

Oh.  We did the loan on a no-doc.  80/20 stated income.  She had a 800 plus credit score. 

Made sense because she only made $12,000 a year and wouldn't qualify for a fully documented loan.  But, this was a smart girl and she has lived in the house for 3 years and hasn't lost a dime. 

There is a place for these loans when the buyer has a plan and understands what they are doing. 

Aug 27, 2007 05:37 AM #2
Rainmaker
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Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Patricia,

Thanks for visiting. Sorry to make you homesick. I went to college in Washington years ago at American University. I moved off-campus to a house in Arlington VA with 4 roomates. We rented a 5 bedroom house for $500 a month. My rent was $100 month. I'm really dating myself here lol. Today housing and tuition is so expensive it makes sense for parents to invest in real estate.

Lenn,

Having a roomate pay for the mortgage is very smart. My best niche market is parents buying for their children because I automatically get two generations of clients and two generations of referrals. The children's friends and the parent's friends.

Aug 27, 2007 08:14 AM #3
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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
What a nice post! It took me back to the excitement of starting classes each year. I can add a Cleveland perspective to the argument about 'using taxpayers money;' universities tend to do research and provide a good job base in a city; so I think you make a good point. Many students will stay in NYC and work there. It's a win win, imho.
Aug 27, 2007 12:40 PM #4
Rainmaker
593,430
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Thanks Carole,

It took me back seeing them moving in yesterday. NYU was even reimbursing for parking yesterday for up to 12 hours. That was a first. I think Columbia's campus expansion over the long haul will revitilize the once industrial neighborhood that has been decaying. A good neighborhood to invest in if you can find something that Columbia doesn't own already.

Aug 27, 2007 01:15 PM #5
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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Okay Mitchell, you buy it and I will move in :-)  Reimbursing for parking would be novel even for Cleveland, how cool!
Aug 27, 2007 01:35 PM #6
Rainmaker
593,430
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Carole,

I'm looking. I just came home from a "walk thru" even further up in Washington Heights. My buyer really got a fabulous apartment at a great price.

Aug 27, 2007 03:45 PM #7
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
A walk through at midnight! Only in NYC, you gotta love it, that would be my kinda time frame.  And congratulations!
Aug 27, 2007 04:45 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Lol, it was at 7pm. We walked around the neighborhood after, I got home at 9:30. It was scheduled for last night because the closing was scheduled for today. Unfortunately the closing was ajourned. I'm not happy about that.
Aug 28, 2007 01:55 AM #9
Rainmaker
338,442
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information
Great photos. Reminds me of how much fun I've had in the City in my day. Thanks for that. Also wanted to thank you for taking your time to comment on the crest charade we did the other day. It was most appreciated.
Aug 30, 2007 02:49 PM #10
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Mitchell J Hall

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