Pres. D'Souza Announces Plans to Move Out of ESB
The college has been negotiating terms with the ESB for 18 months, hoping to extend a ten-year lease. As of last week, the plan was to renovate within the ESB.
Late last week, administration received an email from their real estate broker stating the ESB would not renew the lease. The college’s current lease expires in December 2012.
“The truth of it is, we don’t have the best space in this building, and it would be kind of nice to have our own building,” D’Souza said.
D'Souza went on to explain that if the college fails to find satisfactory space in Manhattan to relocate to by the fall, King’s will stay in the ESB until the lease expires in December and may even negotiate an extension.
If King’s stays in the ESB another semester, classes may start earlier and end later in the day to accommodate the estimated 600 students that will be enrolled.
Plans are already underway to find new space in Manhattan. Ideally, the space will be priced similarly to the ESB and will be close to existing housing options in Midtown. An administrative team including Chief Executive Officer Duanne Moeller and President D’Souza will visit a space in Midtown on Tuesday Feb. 14. Already, a potential warehouse space on Wall St. was rejected, as building costs would be great.
“I’m actually, quite honestly, a little bit excited about it,” D’Souza said. “I hope that’s not a perverse reaction.”
In the midst of the ESB’s $550 million renovations, the building’s management is “rethinking what they want to do with this building,” according to Pres. D’Souza. Those plans include upscale restaurants and high-paying corporate clients such as the fragrance company Coty and LinkedIn– but not a college.
“It has nothing to do with us, with our fiscal condition, with our conduct,” D’Souza said. “The way I look at it is, God has a plan.”
According to Moeller, ESB owner Anthony Malkin was very complimentary of King's students, faculty and staff, but his plans for the building have simply changed. Malkin Holdings LLC announced Monday the ESB will soon hold an initial public offering, expecting to raise $1 billion.
"We did our best to make the case for why King's should stay," Moeller said. "At the end of the day, God's the one who brought King's here, and if he's moving us on it's because he has a better place for us."
The office space at 330 Fifth Ave. will either continue to house faculty offices or be subletted to other renters. King’s has a short-term lease with the building.
A food court and athletics facilities are possibilities for the new space, but not a priority.
“There’s been a lot of change at this school,” Dean of Student David Leedy said. “But the mission is the same."
Robert Punchur and Rebecca Jacobson contributed to this report.