One of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first triumphs in office was instituting universal pre-kindergarten across all five boroughs, and by this September, 65,500 kids were enrolled in the city’s pre-K program. Now the city’s School Construction Authority is planning for a three-story pre-kindergarten building at 359 93rd Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues in Bay Ridge.
The 37-foot-tall structure will hold 22,144 square feet of community facility space, according to building applications filed last Friday. The cellar will have a “warming kitchen,” storage, exercise rooms, and offices for custodial staff, followed by a lobby, storage, classrooms, offices, and a rear yard on the ground floor. There will be more classrooms on the second and third floors, as well as a community room, staff lounge, and more offices.
Michael Szerbaty’s MD Szerbaty Associates Architecture, headquartered on Seventh Avenue just south of Penn Station, applied for the permits. The Chelsea firm has designed several schools across New York City, from a traditional brick elementary school in Canarsie to a modern addition for a school in Elmhurst.
The 13,800-square-foot property is mostly vacant, except for a single-story doctor’s office. The School Construction Authority picked up the property for $3 million in October, paying roughly $130 for each square foot of the planned building. There are very few development sites in Bay Ridge, and the city probably didn’t have many affordable options to choose from when it was shopping for land. It seems like a bargain compared to this site at the corner of Third Avenue and 81st Street, which wants $329 per buildable square foot. The school will also rise only two blocks from the Bay Ridge-95th Street stop on the R train, making the commute easy for kids and parents.
The downside of this location, however, is the suburban-style zoning, which caps new building heights around 35 feet.
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