Massive CUNY Building Up For Major Redevelopment

A huge property owned by the City University of New York (CUNY) has been put up for redevelopment, sparking a rush by real estate developers as CUNY leadership plans for maximal usage.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a CUNY school spanning half of a long block at 59th and Amsterdam, is up for major redevelopment. The four-story North Hall building was opened up for tours to developers on October 16th. It can be developed up to eight hundred thousand square feet, and the school leadership said they intend for three hundred thousand square feet to be used for classrooms, and the rest to be used for development such as condominiums.

CUNY leadership emphasized that affordable housing would not be a necessity, with maximal revenue – “highest and best use” – being the primary goal. They intend to either sell the property or make a long term lease agreement.

Currently, the building, at four stories, uses approximately one third of the square footage allowed by zoning, and “best use” implies the intent to approach or reach this square footage cap in the end result.

Guttman Community College, owned by CUNY, currently resides near Bryant Park. Part of the master plan for the redevelopment is to move this college into the current location of John Jay.

CUNY has seen hard times financially in recent years, with budget cuts for years. An independent audit in 2018 calculated CUNY’s deficit to be $700 million.

The deadline for proposals from developers for the site is November 20.

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Featured images by Tommy Gao

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David Cunningham

David Cunningham

David Cunningham is a blogger and software developer living in the Upper West Side. He loves writing, running around Riverside Park, shopping at Fairway and Zabar’s, and working on web apps in his free time. He moved to New York in 2018 after spending five years working as a developer in Huntsville, Alabama (the home of Space Camp). He is currently building a tech blog platform called Dabbling In, and you can learn more about him at his website,

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