NEW YORK CITY-The New York City Educational Construction Fund has closed the first phase of an agreement with the World Wide Group LLC to construct two new schools here at 250 E. 57th St. and Second Ave. The schools and approximately 70,000 sf of retail are part of the first phase of a mixed-use development on the 1.5-acre site. Phase II includes a 59-story, 320-unit residential tower with 100,000-sf of retail at its base.

The project is being sponsored by the ECF, an arm of the Department of Education that works to ease school overcrowding. The World-Wide Group recently executed a long-term lease of the project site with ECF. The developer’s payments under the lease to ECF will cover the expenses of building the new school with no cost to the taxpayers. Anderson Kill & Olick PC represented the Fund in the transaction, negotiating the lease and development agreements.

In June 2006, the Fund revealed that it had designated locally based World Wide Group to be the developer for the redevelopment here, which currently houses the High School for Art and Design. The project will include a new high school designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill. The project will also include a new elementary school, approximately 200,000 sf of retail space, and a 488,000-sf, 300-unit residential tower containing affordable and market-rate housing. In 2006, plans were to begin construction in late 2008. James Cullen, head of Anderson Kill’s real estate and construction practice, tells that they hope to start construction by September.

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