NEW YORK CITY-A unique agreement that involves the purchase of one building and a long-term net lease on an adjacent one will allow the United Federation of Teachers to relocate Downtown. The $65- to $70-million deal, which includes the purchase price and first year lease, represents a major investment in the future of Lower Manhattan.

Funding for the complex transactions will come from the sale of the labor organization’s current headquarters at 260 Park Avenue South and additional buildings it owns it 48 E. 21st St and 41 E. 21st St. The union’s new headquarters will be located at 50 and 52 Broadway.

The building to be purchased, 50 Broadway, is owned by Koll Bren and Schreiber LLP, a REIT. The 52 Broadway building is owned by Jack Resnick & Sons Inc. The UFT is represented in all transactions, including the sale of its Midtown South properties, by Colliers ABR vice chairman Mark Boisi. Legal counsel for the union is Leonard Boxer of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

The new headquarters, expected to be phased in starting in early 2003, will include space for offices, classrooms and meeting facilities with room to spare. Unused space will be leased out and taken back gradually as the organization continues to grow its membership. Also included in the deal is the construction in 52 Broadway by the current owners of a 1,000-seat auditorium, giving the UFT a venue for major membership meetings. The facility will also be available to community and other labor groups.Located near Exchange Place, 50 Broadway is a 37-story building completed in 1927 and renovated in the 1990s. The adjoining building at 52 Broadway is a 19-story, 400,000-sf structure that was built in 1982.

The UFT has occupied its Park Avenue South headquarters since the late 1960s and rents office space in the outer boroughs. Discussions are under way regarding the disposition of its current assets, though no final deal has yet been reached. The purchase and lease of the Downtown properties are also still subject to negotiations.

Because of the scope of the project and the buildings’ location within a few blocks of the World Trade Center site, the deal is considered a significant commitment to Downtown. According to Colliers’ Boisi, the relocation move is “a landmark business decision that clearly establishes the UFT as a leader in the Downtown recovery,” while Resnick and Sons chairman Burton Resnick expresses hope that the project “signals the start of a resurgence in the Downtown marketplace.”

UFT president Randi Weingarten says the group “is proud to be an integral part of the rebirth of Lower Manhattan. It is the world’s financial capital, the traditional heart of New York and, since Sept. 11., the emotional soul of our country.”

The UFT represents roughly 140,000 active and retired teachers, guidance counselors, school librarians, secretaries, paraprofessionals and other educators in the New York City public schools.

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