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Carter's View

The New York Law School has sold 240 Church Street in TriBeCa to the Alexico Group for the development of a residential building of about 300,000 square feet.

The Alexico residential tower will be on the 12,500-square-foot site of the Mendik Law Library building on the northeast corner of the block bounded by Church, Leonard and Worth Streets and West Broadway. The area was rezoned in 1995 but the school's property was not included in the new zoning.

Richard A. Matasar, president and dean of the school, wrote a letter to the school's board of trustees June 23 announcing the completion of the sale, but not mentioning the buyer. noted that city records indicated that in a July 10, 2006 document, 56 Leonard LLC, in care of Alexico Group at 150 East 58 Street, had entered into a Zoning Lot Development Agreement with the school June 22.

Alexico is headed by Ivan Senbahar and Simon Elias, who recently acquired the Mark Hotel on the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and 77th Street and who are the developers of 165 Charles Street, a Richard Meier-designed apartment building on West Street, and the

In his June 23 letter, Dean Matasara described the sale of the four-story building at 240 Church Street as critical for "launching the school's extensive expansion and renovation program that will provide a comfortable, attractive, warm home for every member of the law school community in a state of the art facility that will serve the school for decades."

The school plans to break ground soon on a new academic building in the school's existing parking lot and a second phase will include a complete interior renovation of the school's remaining buildings on Worth Street that is expected to be completed in 2010.

In a press release, the school indicated that proceeds from the sale of 240 Church Street will "nearly quadruple the school's endowment." The school's endowment prior to the sale was believed to be about $50 million.

The school's press release said that financing for the new academic building, designed by The Smith Group, comes from "the sale of $135 million in insured bonds issued through the New York City Industrial Development Agency, which was successfully completed on June 30, 2006."

"The new building and renovation of existing facilities on Worth Street will bring together the law school's classrooms, library, student spaces, administrative offices and professional academic centers in a combined 346,000-square foot, integrated environment that is nearly double the existing space occupied by the school today," the school maintained.

Last year, the school was negotiating the sale of the Mendik property with Tishman Speyer Properties.

An article by Lois Weiss in today's edition of The New York Post said that Howard Nottingham and Woody Heller of Studley, the real estate services company, oversaw the marketing of the site's sale, but declined to discuss it, adding that "We do hear, however, that Senbahar teamed up with Goldman Sachs and Dune Capital, the investment baby of Goldman partner Dan Neidich, in what has been relayed as an approximately $140 million deal."

The New York Law School was established in 1891 by some faculty, students and alumni of the Columbia College School of Law who were protesting that school's attempts to dictate teaching methods. By 1904, New York Law School was the largest law school in the country and its early lecturers included Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.