25 Broadway makes the grade for private school’s expansion


By Julie Shapiro

Claremont Prep’s $30 million expansion is back on track after the school finalized a 20-year lease this week for 200,000 square feet at 25 Broadway.

Claremont will use the space for middle and high school classes starting in the fall of 2010, said Michael Koffler, C.E.O. of Met Schools, Claremont’s parent company.

Koffler made a similar announcement in March, saying the school had leased space for its expansion at 100 Church St., but Claremont opted out of that deal because the 25 Broadway space was better, Koffler said. A major tipping point was 25 Broadway’s location, just steps from Claremont’s Broad St. home.

“You walk right out our door, cross Bowling Green, and there you are,” Koffler said. “It’s a wonderful building, it’s close by, and the staff is really thrilled.”

Claremont was able to back out of the 100 Church St. lease because owner The Sapir Organization took a long time to get their bank to sign off on the deal, Koffler said.

The asking rent at 25 Broadway was $39 per square foot, compared to $40 at 100 Church. Koffler said he paid very close to the asking rent at 25 Broadway, which is owned by the Wolfson Group. The 20-year lease at 25 Broadway includes the option of a 10-year extension. Wolfson and Sapir could not immediately be reached for comment.

Claremont had detailed architectural plans and renderings for 100 Church St., but those all had to be redone for 25 Broadway, the former Cunard building, because the floors are “H”-shaped, Koffler said. Despite the need to redesign the school, Koffler said it would definitely open by fall 2010, as planned. He did not release renderings of the space.

Claremont already has an elementary and middle school at 41 Broad St. and will start a high school there with a ninth-grade class this fall. The elementary school will remain in the 125,000 square feet on Broad St., while the middle school and fledgling high school will move to 25 Broadway.

Claremont, Lower Manhattan’s only nonsectarian private school, had just 54 students when it opened in 2005. The expansion will eventually bring the school’s two locations to a total of more than 1,600 students. Tuition at Claremont ranges from $20,000 to $30,000, depending on the child’s age.

At 25 Broadway, Claremont will occupy a block of space on the 19th through 22nd floors of the building, along with space on the first floor and in the basement. The school will have a four-lane, 25-meter pool, much bigger than the one the Church St. space would have allowed. There will be one gym when the space opens in 2010, and another gym will open up in 2017 when more space becomes available, Koffler said. The school will also have 10,000 square feet of outdoor space.

The school will have a separate entrance on Morris St., a small side street.

Koffler described the high-tech features that will go into the new building, like a digital library, but one of the things he’s most excited about is already in place: the sprawling views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.

“It’s like you’re looking at a geography lesson every time you look out the window,” Koffler said. “It’s just a beautiful space.”