College of new Rochelle sells Mott Haven building to real estate firm Chestnut Holdings

Sold! College of New Rochelle unloads South Bronx building

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The College of New Rochelle has sold its piece of prime South Bronx real estate for a hefty sum — but not to worry, Bronx bookworms.

A down-scaled version of the school’s adult education School of New Resources will remain on-site in Mott Haven for at least the next decade.

Property investment firm Chestnut Holdings snapped up the 60,000-square-foot, eight-story building at E. 149th Street and Courtland Avenue — steps from the heavily trafficked Hub — in June for the asking price of $10.5 million.

As part of the sale agreement, the college’s John Cardinal O’Connor Campus will lease back four floors of the building for the next 10 years, with an option to push that lease to 15 years after five years.

Less space, no problem

The school put the towering Mott Haven building on the block in February. College leadership said the school would pump the money from the sale into improving existing facilities and programming.

Overall growth from the school, said college president Judith Huntington, would overshadow the space squeeze.

“All of our classes and offerings will be the same,” said Huntington in an interview. “We are keeping the space that we really need, and continuing to grow.”

The School for New Resources, which has doled out adult education degrees to more than 5,000 men and women in the community for more than 35 years, will soon consolidate its classroom and office operations between the third and sixth floors of the E. 149th street building. Chestnut Holdings is now targeting retail tenants for the ground and second floors, and other commercial tenants for the seventh and eighth floors.

Boom by the Hub

The family-run real estate firm has been bullish on the Bronx since it purchased its first building in the borough in 1997. And it’s not the only real estate company crowing about the area around the Hub, where Mott Haven’s three main streets intersect.

In September 2013, city officials broke ground on an 88,000-square foot $35 million mixed-use facility in the Hub that will replace a vacant parking lot. The so-called Triangle Plaza Hub will soon host a Fine Fare Supermarket and campus for Metropolitan College of New York, among other tenants.

Staying long term

The College of New Rochelle, which serves mostly local students who walk or take a quick public transportation to class, has every intention of staying put amid the surrounding real estate boom.

“This is not an exit strategy whatsoever,” stressed Huntington. “We are firmly committed to serving the Bronx community for the long haul.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
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