When David Falk toured Pace University’s new dormitory at 180 Broadway in January, he was struck not only by the gleaming facilities but also by what they said about the 107-year-old school.
Mr. Falk, the New York tristate region president of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, has worked with the university since 1999. The new building “is beautiful,” Mr. Falk said. “It’s the new Pace.”
The transformed school has helped alter the real estate landscape of lower Manhattan. In the past 15 months, Pace has inked deals for the entire 47,000 square feet at 140 William Street, renewed a 32,707-square-foot office lease at 156 William Street, and, with partner SL Green, announced plans for a 30-story dormitory at 33 Beekman Street.
The 220,000-square-foot 180 Broadway—also a joint project with SL Green—came to light in the darkest days of the recession. Pace wanted to bring about 600 beds back to its lower Manhattan campus from Brooklyn Heights.
“We started looking into residential buildings,” Mr. Falk said. “This was post-Lehman Brothers, so the neighborhood was quiet. We quickly realized that there was too much wasted space in apartment buildings. As anyone who can remember his college days knows, dorms are cookie-cutter spaces that can be lined up.”
By bringing dormers back into the traditional heart of its campus, Pace bucked the education sector’s trend toward expanding into far-flung territories. In addition to (controversially) bulking up its Greenwich Village footprint, New York University plans to create an applied-sciences institute in Downtown Brooklyn and touch down on Governor’s Island. Columbia University’s $6.3 billion Manhattanville project will bring the Ivy into a huge new swatch of Harlem.
“Pace wants to keep growing its presence and image around the existing campus in lower Manhattan,” Mr. Falk said. The university is also working to consolidate its Westchester campuses.