New School Set To Sell Greenwich Village Townhouse for $20 Million

Facing fierce protests by students, staff and faculty members who sought the sale of the building rather than salary and staff cuts, the New School put its Greenwich Village townhouse on the block of $20 million. The college says it needs to address a $52 million budget deficit.

| 19 Feb 2024 | 05:21

After facing persistent protests from both faculty and students, The New School has decided to sell its Greenwich Village townhouse in efforts to tackle the university’s daunting $52 million budget deficit.

Mark Diaz, serving as interim executive of the university’s Business and Operations department, disclosed these plans during a faculty budget presentation last Tuesday, as reported by The New School Free Press, the institution’s student-run newspaper, on February 9th. Diaz also highlighted a concerning projection, estimating potential losses of over $200 million within a 3 to 5 year timeframe.

Located in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the West Village townhouse at 21 West 11th Street holds a rich history dating back to its construction in 1838. Public records reveal its acquisition by The New School in 1984 for $990,000 from Herman and Nina Schneider, notable children’s science book authors.

Today, the residence known as the Scatturo House in honor of former chancellor and trustee Philip J. Scatturo, is home to Donna Shalala, interim president of The New School and a former member of Congress who served in the Carter and Clinton administrations.

As reported by The New York Times, the five-story structure spanning 4,038 square feet, featuring four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and a library media room that offers the versatility of being converted into an additional bedroom, has recently been listed by brokers Nikki Field and Mara Flash Blum of Sotheby’s International Realty for a whopping $20 million. The article mentions that annual property taxes will be determined at the closing, as confirmed by the brokers.

Amy Malsin, a spokeswoman for the university, talked about the property’s renovations in an email to The Times. The residence underwent a significant transformation in 2000. Recent enhancements include modern amenities such as a new kitchen boasting radiant-heat tiled floors, central air-conditioning, updated windows and bathrooms, and the striking addition of a two-story glass wall and door panels that overlook and open to the townhouse’s garden.

The timeless elegance of the structure is evident in its Greek Revival style with Federal architecture. Blum, one of the brokers representing the property, said to The Times, “The house has been upgraded and renovated, but it still maintains its charm and history.”

Initially in 2020 The New School resorted to cost-saving measures such as reducing top leadership salaries by 12 to 15 percent trimming library subscriptions, and offering voluntary separation packages to employees, and laying off of 122 lower-level staffers.

As a result, The School faced countless angry protests. In one of them, students, faculty members, and union representatives marched to the townhouse, then occupied by former president Dwight A. McBride. They had even demanded the townhouse to be sold instead of salary cuts. The New School also faced its longest-ever part-time professor strike, lasting 25 days, as faculty demanded pay increases.

An Instagram post from a coalition of organizers at The New School drew comparisons between President Dwight McBride and the President of Harvard, highlighting stark contrasts in compensation and institutional resources. “President Dwight McBride earns $1,148,000 a year, notwithstanding additional retirement and benefits. He lives rent-free in a 15 million-dollar townhouse. In comparison, the president of Harvard earns $1,173,000 a year,” it mentioned. “Harvard’s endowment was $41.9 billion in 2020. The New School’s was $393.5 million the same year. Make it make sense.”

Malsin mentioned to The Times that the school has a strategy in place to make it through its current troubles. “We are confident in our ability to stabilize the university’s finances and are taking all necessary steps to ensure that outcome,” she said.