St. Francis College is planning to move to a brand new campus in the heart of downtown Brooklyn next year. The 162-year-old college announced yesterday it had signed a 30-year lease for about 255,000 square feet across three floors of the Wheeler Building (181 Livingston St).
The Wheeler building is Tishman Speyer’s redevelopment of Macy’s beautiful art deco department store just a few blocks away from St. Francis’s current location across a number of buildings on Remsen Street.
Just last year, the Whittle School was expected to open a massive campus at the 181 Livingston location, leasing 600,000 square feet. The company did not return our request for comment, and Brooklyn Campus seems to have disappeared from their website. Tishman Speyer declined to comment further beyond saying that “approximately 360,000 square feet of newly-built, light-filled space on the upper floors of The Wheeler are now available for lease.”
St. Francis will occupy the 5th, 6th and 7th floors of the 10 story tower, atop Macy’s department store. The new campus will also have 5,000 square feet of outdoor space on the 5th and 7th floors, and a dedicated entrance at 181 Livingston Street. The new campus is expected to open its doors to students in September 2022.
The college currently educates approximately 2,700 students, the majority of whom come from Brooklyn, and expects more than 3,500 enrolled students by 2026. Majority of its students self-identify as Black and/or Hispanic, and about 10% of students are international.
The college billed the relocation to The Wheeler building as “the foundation of the 162-year-old private Franciscan institution’s transformative new initiative, SFC Forward,” which it launched this year to expand academic offerings and online learning opportunities.
“We are excited about SFC Forward and our relocation,” said Denis J. Salamone ’75, Chair of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees. “This initiative will make us more competitive and ensure future generations of Terriers receive life-changing academic and student experiences affording them increased social mobility.”
“This is a historic moment to completely re-envision our campus and meet the needs of our community, and we are thrilled to continue offering a first-rate, affordable education in a modern, flexible and welcoming learning space,” said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College.
The new facilities prioritize collaboration and community and will feature flexible labs and classrooms with built-in technology that accommodate a range of teaching styles and class structures, a 300-seat auditorium, a 260-seat cafeteria, a 32-seat tiered screening room, a 6,600-square-foot library with study and research spaces as well as the outdoor terrace and access to a roof deck, two art gallery spaces and other gathering spaces for students to work together, study and relax, St. Francis college shared. The new campus does not include a gym or pool on site, and the College is developing partnerships with nearby institutions to share indoor spaces for practice sessions and competitions for its athletics program.
“SFC Forward ensures that we are immersing our students in global perspectives and learning experiences, expanding into emerging fields, and reinforcing students as critical thinkers, leaders and lifelong learners,” said Jennifer Lancaster, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean.
“For more than 160 years, St. Francis College has been committed to advancing knowledge and excellence in the Brooklyn community and educating young leaders to meet the challenges of the day. I look forward to welcoming the college into New York’s 8th Congressional District,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“St. Francis is a long-time pillar of the Brooklyn community. We are thrilled to be their partner in this new chapter,” said Rob Speyer, CEO of Tishman Speyer in the announcement. “With its seamless blend of old and new construction, The Wheeler speaks to both St. Francis’ history in the neighborhood, as well as its commitment to modern education.”