Last week, The Speyer Legacy School—a private institution for “intellectually advanced” kindergartners through eighth graders—signed a lease for an 85,000-square-foot campus spanning 400 West 59th Street and 925 Ninth Avenue. That’s a nearly 10-fold increase in size from its current schoolhouse at 15 West 86th Street, Speyer’s home since it was founded four years ago. But Speyer and its young students aren’t the only ones going through dramatic growth spurts. New York City Department of Education spokesperson Marge Feinberg said in an email that since 2002, the D.O.E. has created nearly 600 new schools, including 149 charter schools.
New York’s 1,750 public schools enroll 1.1 million students, and population trends as well as changing migration patterns, which are seeing more young families eschewing the suburbs for the safe, clean city, should swell class rolls. A 2007 Census Bureau American Community Survey found a 4.7 percent increase in New York’s under-5 population, up to 566,628 from 540,878 in 2000. And the birth rate, which fell sharply during the 1990s and basically flatlined through 2005, spiked by 4.5 percent between then and 2008.
“The baby boomers’ kids are having kids now,” said Alex Jinishian, a vice chairman at Colliers International who represented Speyer in the deal. “New Yorkers are interested in education and spending their capital on that. This industry—if you want to call it that—from basically grammar to secondary education to college has become a force in the economy.”
Below, Commercial Observer staff reporter Billy Gray spotlights new schools coming online this year.