Subscribe via RSS Feed

THE NEW DEAL: LIU AND RXR Realty Plan to Expand Brooklyn Campus

Developer Talks to Seawanhaka About Towering 34-Story Building In The Works

By: Michael Chin, Editor-in-Chief

The President of Brooklyn Campus’ Faculty Federation (LIUFF) Senate, Rebecca States.

Big changes are coming to the Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus after a multimillion-dollar deal was signed with Uniondale, N.Y.-based developer RXR Realty to construct a new high-rise building on the site of the current multi-sport athletic field.

The university has sold $76 million in air rights to build on the 11-acre site. This will set the stage for a $300 million project, making it LIU’s biggest expansion since it was founded in 1926.

The new high-rise building will be located on the corner of Willoughby Street and Ashland Place, where the current athletic field is located. The 18,000-square-foot LIU building features a 34-story tower that will have 476 residential units, a rooftop athletic field, and a new parking garage to replace the current outdated structure.

Also, as part of this deal, there’s a cash infusion of $41 million that would be divided between the Brooklyn campus and the LIU Post campus in Brookville.

“We are entering into an exciting collaboration with RXR Realty that will allow historic investments in our Brooklyn campus and help to propel LIU into its second century, to reach unprecedented levels of academic achievement and national prominence,” LIU President Kimberly Cline said in a letter announcing the plan to campus faculty and staff days after the deal was signed.

LIU and RXR Realty have been in negotiations for about a year until they signed formal agreement days before the end of 2017.

“LIU’s Brooklyn Campus is a true gem and is one of the key anchors of Downtown Brooklyn,” Seth Pinsky, executive vice president at RXR Realty, told Seawanhaka. “We could not be more thrilled to be working together with the university to ensure that the campus is positioned to continue to thrive well into the 21st Century and beyond.”

The LIU Brooklyn athletic field, where the 34-story tower building will be located. Photo by Roodgally Senatus

And while specific designs for this project are yet to be confirmed, efforts are now in the works to seek a building permit for it.

Pinsky says that the project is expected to break ground “late this year or during the first part of next year.”

To A Deluxe Apartment in The Sky

The university is collaborating with RXR Realty, which manages 74 commercial real estate properties and investments, valued at approximately $17.7 billion. In describing the project, Pinsky explained that the high-rise project at the current athletic field, as it will consist a podium that will contain the spaces and space for LIU, with the athletic field on the roof of the podium.

As for the residential building, it will rise primarily on stilts above a portion of the podium, to the side of the athletic field.  

The Downtown Brooklyn area is highly desirable for major real estate interests, which have been actively trying to acquire “air rights” — the empty space above a property — to construct taller buildings than zoning laws might ordinarily allow.

Student Government Association President Emily-Ann Barba is pleased by the deal and its consequences. “After spending so much time last semester collecting concerns from our students in Connolly Hall, it is more than exciting to know that the university not only agrees with us, but also has big plans,” said Barba.

The 34-story tower at the LIU Brooklyn campus will be located on the corner of Willoughby Street and Ashland Place, where the current athletic field is located. Photo by Roodgally Senatus

Next Steps and Future Plans

Other campus leaders are waiting to see what will happen next. The President of Brooklyn Campus’ Faculty Federation (LIUFF) Senate, Rebecca States – an associate professor of physical therapy – supports the LIU Brooklyn-RXR development, but only if the added financial resources brings direct results in the “maintenance of existing buildings, [the] updating of laboratories, classrooms, and technology for student and pedagogical use.”

States also added that future decisions as to how to apply the money from this real estate deal needs to include the input and proposals from students, faculty, and staff, with knowledge of the campus’ history and culture.

This project along with pending efforts to renovate the Paramount Theatre is part of effort that will dramatically change the appearance of the Brooklyn Campus in the years ahead.

Other than the new high-rise tower development, Cline also pointed to other scheduled improvements, including; a new food court, facilities for a future digital game design program, a communications center, expansion of laboratories, and the addition of two floors on the Health Sciences and Pharmacy buildings.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: News, The Buzz