Home News CUNY poised to replace 648 affordable Hunter College dorms headed for demolition

CUNY poised to replace 648 affordable Hunter College dorms headed for demolition

CUNY is set to replace the 648 beds at its Hunter College Brookdale campus in Midtown headed for demolition, offering an answer to months of speculation about the fate of the college’s most affordable dormitories as they make way for a new life sciences hub.

On Monday the university confirmed that by fall 2025 all 648 Brookdale beds will be transferred to 569 Lexington Ave., 25 blocks to the north, where they will be added to the 384 already being used by Hunter and Baruch College.

The “outdated” Brookdale campus — between 25th and 26th Streets in Kips Bay — will be demolished next year to make way for SPARC Kips Bay, a new multibillion dollar life sciences hub first announced in October 2022.


A conceptual rendering of the SPARC Kips Bay campus.

Julieanne Herskowitz/Courtesy of New York City Economic Development Corporation

A conceptual rendering of the SPARC Kips Bay campus.

Since then members of the Hunter community have expressed confusion and concern over the potential loss of hundreds of the school’s most affordable dorms.

CUNY had not previously confirmed whether it planned to replace the Brookdale dorms beyond saying those living there when SPARC was announced would be guaranteed housing at the same price.

But last week the university’s Board of Trustees Committee Meeting on Facilities Planning and Management voted on a pair of resolutions to extend the existing interim lease at 569 Lexington Ave. and increase the bed count to offset the loss of the Brookdale facilities. The full Board will have to vote on the matter before the lease can be signed, according to a spokesman.

Those dorms are set to shutter after the spring 2025 semester. Construction on the new SPARC hub is scheduled to begin later that year and continue through 2031.

“We’re excited to be able to offer students these modern housing options with many amenities while keeping the rates low,” Héctor Batista, CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, said at the committee meeting.

Per the resolution, those living at Brookdale when SPARC was announced will continue to pay $816 a month after the move. Once those students move on, the starting rate will be $969, the spokesman said.

Batista cited a not-yet-public analysis of CUNY dorms, from a survey of 500 students, that found much more housing is needed. The CUNY spokesman declined to share the report with the Daily News.

“I think the biggest finding was that CUNY was in need of more beds,” he said. “We really didn’t know. I mean, we’ve always known CUNY to be a commuter school.”

He added that demand extends beyond Manhattan to include the outer boroughs. He estimated some 2,000 more dorms are needed, and that they have a goal of making at least 10% of those affordable to Pell Grant students.

“We’re going to now take on the journey of looking at other places like Brooklyn and Staten Island and other places to make sure that we’re meeting those needs,” Batista said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here