NEW YORK CITY-A new building going up in East Midtown will soon provide hard-wired housing for the expanding student body at the School for Visual Arts. The 55,000-sf property at 215 E. 23rd St., just leased by the school, will serve as a residence hall for 360 students. SVA plans to sublet 3,500 sf of ground-floor space to retail tenants.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources close to the transaction say SVA paid between $50 and $60 per sf, comparable to residential rents on that section of 23rd St. School officials say the retail space has not yet been marketed.

Located adjacent to the main campus at 209 E. 23rd St, the 22-story building, all of which has been leased by SVA, has a must-deliver deadline of January 2002, according to Ellen Clinesmith, SVA director of campus life. “We do know we are slated to check in students in January,” Clinesmith tells

John Gibb of Dallas-based tenant-rep firm Staubach Co. represented SVA. Jeff Levine of Douglaston, NY-based Levine Builders, the developer on the project, represented building owner Ocean Drive Realty Association LLC.

The lease has a 10 1/2-year term–with the move-in scheduled for January, SVA structured the lease to expire at the end of the school year–and two 10-year renewal options. According to Gibb, the deal took roughly four months to close and is “kind of a hybrid” between a conventional and a net lease. “They are leasing the property and picking up some of the operating expenses,” Gibb said.

SVA, which currently has an enrollment of roughly 3,500, has buildings scattered throughout East Midtown and rents housing space for students in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City. Established in 1947 as a vocational school, housing has been an ongoing problem as the school’s reputation and enrollment shot up. And as SVA’s prestige increased, its demographics changed apace.

“Now, we are the largest private art school in the country,” Adam Eisenstat, SVA’s director of communication tells “The last five years have been especially acute in areas that speak to the demographics of our students. There are fewer older commuters and more traditional students. The number of students coming from 500-plus miles away has gone up 500% in the past five years.

The mainstreaming of SVA made new dorms a priority, Eisenstat says. And technology became a major consideration in creating student housing. “It’s fully cabled up,” Staubach’s Gibb says. “The T1 lines are hooked to the SVA server so the kids can work out of their rooms. This building is equipped to the hilt, technology-wise.”

“There are a lot of technological innovations that come with any upgrade of space,” Eisenstat says. “The school is so dependent on technology, just like the rest of the culture.”