st agnes

The St. Agnes Boys High School on 87th street and West End Avenue has been sold for $50 million to Cary Tamarkin, a developer and architect known for building condos. The school shut down after the 2012/2013 school year, and the building was still owned by the Archdiocese of New York.

The brick and limestone building was constructed in 1907-1908. It has 42,000 square feet and sold for $1,190 per square foot. “It lies within an R10A zone and possesses approximately 39,000 square feet of additional air rights.”

The building is part of the West End Avenue-Riverside Historic District. “The school was built by the New York Protestant Episcopal School Corporation (aka Trinity School) to house St. Agatha’s School for Girls (established 1898) its sister school. Trinity sold the building to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in 1941 and it became the home of Cathedral College, a high school and college seminary. Since 1992, it has housed St. Agnes Boys’ High School, a Roman Catholic school formerly located on East 44th Street.”

The school had been considered as a possible site for a new UWS school, and we’ve heard some disappointment that it will instead be used for luxury housing. “Why didn’t the DOE – Facilities Planning – not bid on the school building when District 3 is so desperate for school space?” wrote Batya Lewton.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 20 comments | permalink
    1. ursus arctos says:

      Was just a matter of time from when the Archdiocese closed the school.

      District 3 definitely could use the space, but I imagine that they were outbid by the developer.

      Cary Tamarkin have done some interesting projects in Chelsea. I’ll be watching their plans for this space very closely.

      • webot says:

        well said, Ursus.

        Certainly great to see historic buildings put to new uses, rather then torn down.

        This being Central Park West, what else but fancy homes can you expect….if not here , where. Clearly a school was not working for the Archdiocese, which has been going through monumental demographic and lifestyle changes. Glad to see this one is not being torn down, like sadly most of the catholic churches are. They sell them as development sites with no regard to their beauty and history. This developer is one the best – he is an architect by trade and understands quality and will restore and improve the building.

    2. Kathy J says:

      I Know I’m not the only one exhausted by the endless news of historic buildings converted into obscenely expensive condos. Too many in too short of a timespan for the neighborhood to properly absorb. what was good and necessary for the community was another school. A thriving community, a thriving city ,is so much more than a market bearing exchange of properties. Just exhausting

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        well said, Kathy. we’re heading down a steep slope.

        • Paul RL says:

          Interesting comment coming from a self-proclaimed luxury condo owner. Why are you allowed to own a luxury UWS condo but are so against others coming into the neighborhood?

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            I’ve been in the same building on the Upper West Side for 23 years and started as a rent stabilized tenant. i bought when the building went condo.

            I am not against people “coming into the neighborhood”… people always come and go in NY. i am against the middle class and poor being driven out. For example, Paul, the seniors at the Williams –you are supporting the SALE of that building and want to get rid of the affordable housing for seniors. Similarly, you have advocated getting rid of all rent stabilized units, which would end up displacing hundreds of thousands of people throughout the city and tens of thousands on the Upper West Side. Another commenter on this site has, appallingly, advocated again and again the TEARING DOWN of the thousands of public housing units in the neighborhood, instead of improving their maintenance. It’s not hard to see the racial and class overtones in these sorts of view.

            I have never described my building as “luxury”, though the real estate sharks describe it that way. the values have skyrocketed, despite the so-called “terrible conditions” on the block with a homeless shelter.

            As a property owner, I believe in living at peace with my neighbors, be they rent stabilized tenants, other property owners, people in public housing, or even — god forbid — people in homeless shelters! We all add things to this wonderful mix we call the UWS. If and when it all becomes homogenized with only one type of person, all upper income, we will have all lost out.

            And let’s not forget the small businesses who being driven out!

            I reject the libertarian-induced greed that looks at housing only as tradable commodity and not a home, and looks at people only for their wealth. The UWS was never about that.

            • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

              > “It’s not hard to see the racial and class overtones in these sorts of view.”

              Stop trying to turn everything into a racial issue please.

            • Mike says:

              Where’s the “Like” button?

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              sorry, 9D, but if someone wants to advocate TEARING DOWN thousands of units of low income housing — our public housing on the UWS — tear down ALL of it, and that housing is where the vast majority of Blacks and Hispanics in the district live, the racial overtones are obvious. I call ’em as I see ’em.

              as i noted, there are serious class overtones as well.

            • Paul RL says:

              Did you protest when your bulding went condo? Did you march for your neighbors who couldn’t afford to buy their apartments, as you did? And if you could afford to buy, what were you doing in a rent controlled
              apartment anyway? You’re pretty quick to accuse everyone you disagree with of racism and class warfare, but your own hypocrisy makes you pretty transparent.

            • Nathan says:

              As a renter, I object to all this subsidized housing taking supply off the market, making rents higher for those of us who can’t yet afford to own. Rent control laws create a new aristocracy, those whose wealth is derived from inheriting property (or in this case leases) rather than doing anything to earn it. There’s nothing racial about it, it’s a tax on the rest of us for the benefit of the few.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            i should add that i don’t think you appreciate the succinct insight of Kathy J. above. I envy her gift for capturing the current reality in a few short sentences.

    3. robert says:

      I doubt the city could have matched the developers 50 million bid

    4. Pedestrian says:

      Will the diocese that has made a bundle on this sale sale pay up its back property taxes? When a tax exempt religious organization sells a major property and makes massive amounts of profit it should not be allowed to get away with paying no taxes on the exchange. It is time that Churches start paying taxes.

      As to why the DOE didn’t bid..a developer wanted it and the City could get in the way of that.

      • Pedestrian says:

        I missed an all important NOT. The city could not get in the way of that, that is, the desire of a developer to have the building.

    5. Louise says:

      Paul RL and Bruce Bernstein:
      I would be so grateful if you would take your personal disagreements to another forum–like, for example, YOUR OWN EMAIL ADDRESSES.

    6. Molama says:

      How wonderful that we have this historic district saving this building and our neighborhood from becoming Third Avenue. Words cannot express the extent of the f my gratitude to the tireless UWSiders who fought for this for so long, especially Gail Brewer

    7. Dave says:

      SCHOOLS. SCHOOLS. SCHOOLS. Where will the families who move into this building send their kids to school? They’ll be zoned for the already overcrowded PS87, correct?

      There is SUCH A NEED for new schools on the UWS, particularly Middle and HIGH SCHOOLS. District 3 gets SCREWED when it comes to High Schools. There are none that are specific for our kids, while District 2 (over on the East Side) keeps District 3 kids out. WHY IS THIS FAIR?

      This would have been a PERFECT location for a new PUBLIC school. Same goes for the Williams. If they had to sell, why not make it a HIGH SCHOOL?

      We all want to stay in the City and on the UWS, but the lack of GOOD public schools with availability often drives people out.

      • student of Harry says:

        Father Harry Brown taught at 555 West End Ave. for many years and was a tireless advocate for tenant rights around the corner in Stryker’s Bay. His two loves were education and fair housing. Having lost both in this transaction, it is fortunate Father Brown has long since gone to his reward in a better neighborhood.