Weill Cornell Reveals Plans for 16-Story, $260M Upper East Side Dorm


Weill Cornell Medicine plans to build a $260 million dormitory with 221 apartments on the site of the former Church of the Epiphany, at East 74th Street and York Avenue.

On Tuesday, the medical school unveiled fresh renderings and details for its new Upper East Side dorm, which is expected to cost $118 million to build.

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A Cornell Weill spokesman clarified that $118 million was the hard cost of construction. Since filing plans in 2021, the institution has estimated that the full cost of the development would be $260 million, which includes acquisition, financing, furnishing and fixture costs.

Cornell purchased the property at 1393 York Avenue from the church for $68 million in 2019 and proceeded to knock down the former Episcopal church last year. Now it’s building a 16-story dorm for its graduate and medical students, with plans to wrap construction in 2025, according to the university. 

The dorm will feature 221 apartments — 163 studios, seven one-bedrooms and 51 two-bedrooms — along with communal study areas, a fitness center, yoga and music rooms, meeting rooms, two lounges with outdoor terraces, and a basketball court, the university said.

The Perkins&Will-designed project will also be all-electric, with electric stoves, air-source heat pumps that provide both heating and cooling, and an air-cooled refrigerant unit that will mingle outside air and indoor exhaust air to reduce energy usage. In terms of design, the building will be clad in light gray facade paneling, with a light gold accent running along a cutout on one side for the windowed elevator lobbies. 

The exterior will also feature large, double-height rectangular windows; a recessed, glassed-in lobby; and a top-floor outdoor terrace wrapping around what appears to be a setback for mechanicals.

Jeffrey Feil, CEO of the Feil Organization, a major commercial landlord, co-chairs a fundraising campaign for Weill Cornell. Feil, along with Weill Cornell namesake Sanford Weill and other major donors, contributed $122 million for the dorm’s construction. 

“We’re building what will be one of the best student residences anywhere in this country,” Dr. Robert Harrington, the dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs at Cornell University, said in a statement. “This new residence will both support our students’ academic life here and instill a lifelong emphasis on taking care of their overall wellness.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that $118 million only includes the hard cost of construction itself. With the costs of acquiring the property and adding furniture and equipment to the building, Cornell Weill has always pegged overall project cost at $260 million.