MSKCC, Hunter College Close on UES Block for $226M [Updated]


Rendering of 525 East 73rd Street (Image from Perkins Eastman / Ennead Architects).
Rendering of 525 East 73rd Street (Image: Perkins Eastman/Ennead Architects).

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has officially sold 525 East 73rd Street to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Hunter College for $226 million.

The partnership, on the deed as Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, has officially bought the property from the agency, which oversees the sale or lease of city-owned land to private companies. EDC and MSKCC officials confirmed the deal closed on Monday. It appeared in property records today. With the deed in hand, construction can begin on the nearly 1.2-million-square-foot complex near the East River following pushback from Upper East Side residents.

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The partners paid $215 million in cash for the site, according to the EDC, which includes the title transfer of a Hunter College property to the agency. They’re also delving out another $11 million for the second phase of redevelopment at the Andrew Haswell Green Park sandwiched between the East River and the FDR Drive.

The property takes up most of the block, spanning from York Avenue to the FDR Drive, and East 74th to East 73rd Streets. MSKCC will construct a 23-story outpatient facility on the east side of the lot for a total of 500,000 square feet. The Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing is moving to a 300,000-square-foot building right next to MSKCC at the newly-acquired site.

The cancer center plans to focus on patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, head and neck cancer along with radiation treatments at the site, according to the EDC.

Hunter is forking over the site of its current nursing school at 425 East 25th Street between First Avenue and the FDR Drive, the EDC said, where the city has begun searching for a new purpose. One of those, according to the agency, is a new station for the Department of Sanitation. In the meantime, the school will relocate to space at LaGuardia Community College across the river in Long Island City.

The hospital, in prepared remarks, said it has already begun work at 525 East 73rd Street, but its contractor, the Turner Construction Co., will start fully building shortly.

“In anticipation of the closing, site preparation started in 2014 and will resume within several weeks,” the hospital said.

But there will be a lot of cleanup before they can build up. The developers first have to redo the toxin-infested site that was a Department of Sanitation facility until 2008, according to the remediation plan attached to the deed.

The Manhattan Borough Board—Manhattan City Council members and community board chairs—gave its approval for the project in November 2013, despite protests from the site’s potential neighbors who feared overcrowding and a blocked view of the East River.

Residents sued the city over the project in December 2013, The New York Post reported, in a bid to stop the deed from going through. Their lawsuit argued the the Department of City Planning and the City Council granted special permits solely to benefit developer. The case was tossed out in July 2014.

The EDC is heralding the deal as a plus for the medical community and the city’s economy. Between construction and operation, EDC estimates 3,200 construction jobs and 830 permanent jobs will be created. The city has also been expanding life-science work on the East Side, also announcing last week a funding initiative to help research in the fields.

“This deal will allow for the construction of a state-of-the-art outpatient cancer center and a cutting edge research and classroom facility for Hunter College, creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs and helping make the city a better, healthier place for all New Yorkers,” said Ian Fried, an EDC spokesman, in prepared comments. “Healthcare is the largest employer in the city, and this project will create quality jobs and provide future healthcare professionals in our city’s public education system with a world-class education in a modern facility.”

Update: This story was edited to include the brokers for MSKCC. They were Mark Weiss, Justin DiMare and Howard Kesseler from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.