NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service Gets New Home, To Open in 2004

Long-Term Lease Makes NYU Largest Tenant In Renowned Landmark Building

NEW YORK - New York University and Kushner Companies announced that the University has signed a 15-year lease for three floors, comprising 75,000 square feet of contiguous space, in the historic Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service will be the University’s primary tenant in the 118-year old landmark. The space provides a consolidated location for NYU Wagner, enabling its faculty, research centers, and administrative offices to be housed together for the first time. The School will occupy the Second and Third Floors, comprising 50,000 square feet, beginning in 2004; other NYU entities, yet to be determined, will occupy the remaining 25,000 square feet.

NYU President John Sexton said, “NYU and the Puck Building are New York icons. Each contributes to New York’s distinctiveness; each has the common New York characteristic of constant reinvention and betterment.

“Shakespeare’s Puck was a weaver of dreams; this space in the Puck Building enables us to fulfill one of our biggest dreams: the consolidation of the Wagner School faculty in one location. The expansion of knowledge, the education of students, and the sharpening of intellectual inquiry are advanced to an enormous degree by the proximity of faculty members to one another and the sense of intellectual community that builds. Wagner, though a great school of public service, has been deprived of that until now.

“The Puck Building and NYU’s Wagner School is a good marriage of New York institutions,” said Sexton.

Charles Kushner, president of Kushner Companies and a trustee of NYU, said, “The Puck Building is known worldwide as one of the city’s great buildings, located at the confluence of two great New York neighborhoods, SoHo and Greenwich Village. New York University is itself a New York landmark, having educated generations of New Yorkers right here in Greenwich Village and earning a global reputation for its teaching and research excellence. Puck and NYU are natural partners, and we are excited by the University’s choice.”

Ellen Schall, Dean of the NYU Wagner Graduate School, said, “So many things about this landmark building make it the perfect new home for the Wagner School in carrying out its mission as a leader in public service education and research, bringing together for the first time in one place our faculty, our research centers, and our students.

“It is a landmark building, reminding us both of the importance of history and the special contribution beautiful buildings can make to our built environment. It is iconic, reminding us of the power of myths and symbols and the need to create equally compelling myths and symbols for public service. Its location positions Wagner perfectly - at a crossroads of the sectors. It looks down Lafayette Street towards City Hall and Wall Street and across Houston to vibrant and multi-ethnic communities on the Lower East Side. Public, private, and civic cultures and worlds will meet at the Puck as NYU Wagner takes up its role in fostering dialogue, creating new knowledge, preparing students to produce results that matter and engaging our broad and diverse group of alumni working to transform public service. And it is great space.”

Taking up a block bounded by Lafayette, Mulberry, Houston and Jersey Streets, the Puck Building was built from 1885 to 1893 in a Romanesque Revival style designed by architect Albert Wagner, with additional construction in 1899 to replace part of structure that was torn down to make room for the extension of Lafayette Street. The Puck Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a New York City landmark.

The building housed the offices of the satirical Puck Magazine, named after the Midsummer Night’s Dream character and which gave the building its now famous moniker. Renown for the often biting political cartoons of founder Joseph Keppler, Puck started as a German-language weekly in 1876, began publishing an English version in 1877 and was closed by its final owner William Randolph Hearst in September 1918.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities. It is one of the largest private universities, and it has one of the largest contingents of international students in the U.S. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and dramatic arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

Established in 1938, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service offers advanced programs leading to the professional degrees of Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Management and Doctor of Philosophy. NYU Wagner is known for its ability to integrate theory and practice. At Wagner, students transform personal commitment into public leadership and engage with a faculty that is changing the way the world looks at issues of public concern. NYU Wagner School alumni are in leadership positions in nonprofit, health and public sector roles in this country and internationally.

Founded in 1954, Kushner Companies is a diversified real estate organization based in Florham Park, New Jersey, with offices in New York City. The company owns and manages more than 24,000 apartment units with a commercial portfolio consisting of 7.5 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space. Properties are located in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts. The construction division, Westminster Communities, develops hundreds of homes annually, primarily in New Jersey and New York, with some 40 projects in various stages of approval and development. These range from active adult communities, to large mixed-use urban redevelopment projects, hotels and apartment complexes to single-family luxury homes.

The firm has been recognized consistently for both its professional and civic activities. In-house capabilities include site selection, planning, development and acquisitions, construction, financing, insurance, leasing, sales, marketing and property management. Kushner Companies also has affiliated businesses involved in banking, insurance, hospitality, real estate brokerage and technology.

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