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NEW YORK CITY-Come 2010, school bells will ring at the head of the Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan, more specifically at the Cunard Lines Building located at 25 Broadway. Claremont Prep School has signed a 20-year lease with a 10-year renewal option for 203,000 square feet of space that will house Claremont Children’s School, an elementary school as well as a new high school. The deal is reportedly one of the largest this year for Downtown Manhattan.

Students will also be heading to class right across the street at 26 Broadway in the iconic building that once housed the offices of John D. Rockefeller, where the Alliance for Downtown New York says the city’s Department of Education has signed two 200,000-square-foot leases of its own.

“I’d say there’s a proliferation of schools in Lower Manhattan,” says Liz Berger, president of Downtown Alliance. She adds this is just the next generation of residential supporting commercial, pointing out ongoing construction of the Spruce Street school in the Ratner building and the Green School at site 2-B.

Of the Claremont School, Berger says “it’s a for-profit school, a business that’s decided that it makes good business sense to expand in Lower Manhattan.”

In the Claremont deal, CB Richard Ellis’ Bruce Surry, Gary Kamenetsky, Richard Levine and Stephen Siegel reportedly represented Cunard Building landlord ACTA Realty in the deal-with ‘MetSchools Inc.,’ mother ship of Claremont. Representing the school was Newmark Knight Frank’s Howard Kessler, who tells GlobeSt.com that the deal says a lot about “taking space in down markets and growing your business.”

When Claremont Prep opened at 41 Broad St., “it was right after 9/11, back when nobody wanted to be downtown,” says Kessler of the 125,000-square-foot space.

He says they’d entered the market about a year ago, tried to find a landlord who “had the wherewithal to build a school for us, and had the foresight to work with a private sector tenant, they knew could pay rent for a 200,000-square-foot facility.”

The facility, according to Kessler, stands to be one of the largest private schools in the city, incorporating cutting edge technology that includes wireless books, but also a building that houses a pool, a black box theatre, even a 400-person capacity gym. Describing views that most adults, let alone kids dream about, Kessler says the roof will include an outdoor space with views of the Statue of Liberty and classrooms with light-drenched windows.

When contacted by GlobeSt.com, CBRE declined to comment.

Built in 1921 by the Atlantic passenger shipping line of the same name, the 22-story Cunard Building, designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris, incorporates Indiana limestone, that historians say was “enlivened” by sculpted models that include the Four Winds, seahorses and Neptune Head crown.

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