St. John’s University campus on Staten Island up for sale
St. John’s University has listed its picturesque Staten Island campus for sale, which is comprised of 16.5 acres of prime real estate overlooking New York Harbor. With the primary goal of selling the Grymes Hill campus to another educational institution when it closes after the spring semester in 2024, the property is one of the largest parcels currently on the New York City real estate market. Global real estate broker Savills is pitching it to overseas or out-of-state institutions as an opportunity to establish a New York City base. However, the campus is also located in an R3-1 zone, which permits community facility uses such as colleges, hospitals, medical centers, or senior living facilities as well as detached and semi-detached one- and two-family homes. As the city deals with a lack of affordable housing, the possibility of converting the land into residential space is tantalizing, but St. John’s spokesman Brian Browne stated that potential buyers for the campus have thus far come from varied segments it is zoned for. The campus has been listed without a price, but St. Francis College in Brooklyn recently sold its property in Brooklyn Heights for $160 million.
What is the goal of St. John’s University in listing its Staten Island campus for sale?
The goal is to sell the campus to another educational institution.
Where is St. John’s University located?
The university’s main campus is in the Hillcrest/Jamaica section of Queens.
What is the zoning of the Grymes Hill campus?
The campus is located in an R3-1 zone that permits community facility uses such as colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, medical centers or senior living facilities. It also allows detached and semi-detached one- and two-family homes.
Is the city considering purchasing the campus?
No, neither the city nor the state has expressed interest in purchasing the property.
What is the potential price of the campus?
The campus has been listed without a price.
What was the previous owner of the Brooklyn Heights property, which sold for $160 million?
St. Francis College was the previous owner.
Campus of St. John’s University in Staten Island Listed for Sale
St. John’s University has announced plans to sell its scenic Staten Island campus. The 16.5-acre property, situated overlooking New York Harbour, is described as a pre-assembled opportunity for an overseas or out-of-state educational institution to expand into one of America’s most popular education centres with more than 200 colleges. However, Mayor Eric Adams’ team has been scouring New York City’s real estate listings for places to house an influx of asylum seekers from the US southern border. One government official quipped that if the site were to house migrants, it could become a “migrant village”.
The site is the likely source of one of the largest parcels of land to hit the property market in New York City. The solicitation to sell promotes the property’s scenic harbor views, proximity to the Staten Island Expressway and Ferry, as well as its accessibility to Newark Liberty International and JFK International airports.
The solicitation highlights the location’s potential for beauty and practicality for educational institutions. It reads: “With 10 academic and administrative buildings, set over a picturesque 16.5-acre campus, the property presents a pre-assembled opportunity for an overseas or out-of-state educational institution to plant a flag in New York City.”
However, the R3-1 zone where the property is situated permits detached and semi-detached one- and two-family homes, exacerbating the city’s dearth of affordable housing. Elected officials and neighbors in the area have opposed the site’s use for migrant housing as well as conversion into one and two family homes.
St. John’s island campus, which opened in 1971, has seen a constant decline in enrollment, exacerbated by the closure of feeder Catholic high schools and an overall reduction in the number of college-age students. The campus has a capacity for 3,000, but enrollment now stands at around 800, nearly two-thirds fewer students than in 2000. Virtually all courses there are also offered at SJU’s main campus.
It is anticipated that SJU will fetch tens of millions of dollars for the much sought-after hilly green jewel. “Savills, the broker for St. John’s University, has received inquiries from potential buyers across varied segments. To date, neither the city nor the state has expressed an interest in purchasing the property,” said St. John’s spokesman Brian Browne. “We have not listed a purchase price for the campus, as we are still in the early stages of this process. We are confident that Savills will find the right buyer for the future of this property who will be a good neighbor to the surrounding community.”
The campus has previously been floated as a possible site for President Donald Trump’s library.
As Staten Island Borough President expressed, it is the hope that the property will remain in educational hands rather than redeveloped or repurposed. But ultimately, it is a desirable site, not just for educational purposes, but for those looking to solve the affordable housing crisis or the increasing needs of those seeking asylum.