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Tishman Speyer signs St Francis College to 255,000 s/f at The Wheeler

Tishman Speyer today announced a long-term agreement with St. Francis College to create a newly-designed and fully-customized campus at The Wheeler in Downtown Brooklyn.

As part of a 30-year lease, Saint Francis will occupy 255,091 s/f of contemporary educational space across the 5th, 6th and 7th floors of The Wheeler, Tishman Speyer’s recently completed 10-story tower situated atop Macy’s renovated Downtown Brooklyn department store. 

Measuring approximately 90,000 s/f each with 16-foot heights, the three floorplates are among the most expansive in the borough.

St. Francis’ campus will also feature 5,000 s/f of programmable outdoor space on the Wheeler’s 5th and 7th floor terraces and a dedicated entrance at 181 Livingston Street. St. Francis will open the doors to its increasingly diverse student body in September 2022.

Rendering via St Francis College

Founded by Franciscan Brothers in 1859 as St. Francis Academy, the first private school in the diocese of Brooklyn, St. Francis College has maintained a steady and growing presence in the neighborhood ever since.  The college currently educates approximately 2,700 students, the majority of whom come from Brooklyn and the surrounding boroughs of New York City.

“St. Francis is a long-time pillar of the Brooklyn community,” said Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer. “We are thrilled to be their partner in this new chapter.  With its seamless blend of old and new construction, The Wheeler speaks to both St. Francis’ history in the neighborhood, as well as its commitment to modern education.”

A Cushman & Wakefield team of Patrick Dugan, Frank Liantonio and Jon Herman represented the school in the transaction.

“We are delighted to have represented an institution so deeply rooted in Brooklyn like St. Francis College. This is such a significant moment in SFC’s history and the transaction is also great for the Brooklyn real estate market as a whole,” said Dugan. “After an extensive process, our team was able to find a solution to meet the college’s financial, operational and qualitative needs, while achieving the appropriate balance between location, economics and timing. SFC’s new campus at The Wheeler will position them for continued success for generations to come.”

Designed by Perkins Eastman and Shimoda Design Group and developed by Tishman Speyer, the Wheeler Building involved the construction of modern 14-story, 256-foot-tall addition atop a historic Art Deco building containing a Macy’s department store.

The steel-framed addition yields 843,830 s/f of new commercial space above the Macy’s, which spans the first four floors.

The Wheeler is the product of a partnership between Tishman Speyer and Macy’s, which tapped the developer in August 2015 to help reimagine and fully renovate its historic Brooklyn department store.  As part of this process, the retailer consolidated its operations into the first four shopping floors and lower levels of its main Art Deco building built in 1930 and an interconnected cast-iron structure built by developer Andrew Wheeler in the 1870s.  

Tishman Speyer had signed a 20-year lease agreement with the Whittle School & Studios to open its third location at The Wheeler in February, 2020. However, the school has since backed out of its 620,000 s/f deal as the company works to deflect a series of lawsuits alleging millions of dollars in unpaid contracts, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A team from CBRE is currently marketing the remaining 360,000 s/f available on the upper floors of the building.

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