The Power is Now

St. John’s Univ. seeks proposals from real estate firms to redevelop S.I. campus, valued at more than $50M –

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — St. John’s University (SJU) has begun its search for community partners to acquire the school’s Staten Island campus, valued at more than $50.2 million in public records.

A spokesperson from the university told the Advance/ they are requesting proposals from real estate firms to facilitate the process.

“In order to identify fitting community partners for the future of the property, the University is beginning to request proposals from real estate firms that may be interested in working with us on this important project, including conducting an initial appraisal of the site. We are in the very early stages of the process,” Brian Browne said in a statement.

According to city Department of Finance records, the 2022-2023 market value of the property is $50,235,000.

When St. John’s announced in August that it will shutter the Grymes Hill campus after the spring 2024 semester, Borough President Vito Fossella and other elected officials on the Island quickly mobilized to ensure the next chapter for the property is in the best interest of the community.

The officials took a united stance to prevent the campus from becoming “the next Mt. Manresa,” a Catholic seminary that ended up in the hands of private residential developers after closing.


Fossella previously floated the idea of St. John’s neighbor, Wagner College, acquiring the campus, guaranteeing that it continue to be used for educational purposes.

The borough president and Staten Island electeds met with Wagner administrators in August, during which Fossella said Wagner confirmed some level of interest in acquisition.

He and his colleagues said they felt Wagner would be “the logical successor.”

Following the meeting, Wagner neither confirmed nor denied plans to buy the campus from SJU.

“We’re focused on welcoming our new and returning students to Grymes Hill as we prepare for the first day of the new semester,” a spokesperson for the school said. “Wagner remains committed to our Staten Island community and we’ll continue to be available to assist St. John’s in their transition. Our priority is supporting the best outcome for anyone pursuing their education.”

On Thursday, Fossella told the Advance/ that he suspects Wagner may not be making an offer to purchase the campus, creating a need for other organizations or entities to consider the opportunity.

“I don’t want to put words in [Wagner’s] mouth, but it’s probably not going to happen with an outright purchase at this time. But, I think there’s a willingness and an openness to collaborate some way down the road, which means that we at a minimum need a collaborative partner for Wagner or somebody who can take over the whole campus on its own,” he said.

Wagner didn’t respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.


Fossella told the Advance/ that he is in ongoing conversations with the SJU administration on the matter.

Their last discussion was a few weeks ago so the borough president said he doesn’t know if there have been developments, such as potential buyers expressing interest. However, he is hopeful SJU will sell the property to an entity that will continue to use it for educational purposes.

“I know they want to try to do the best thing here for the community and maintain their long and rich tradition and good reputation. So I believe they are willing to do whatever they can to ensure that the property meets that educational purpose,” the borough president said.


Fossella is determined to continue the conversation with his colleagues and work together to find solutions on their end.

“I just sent a note out to the electeds that we should regroup in light of the fact that we may have to put our thinking caps on and put the word out to encourage other educational based entities to take a serious look at St. John’s,” he said on Thursday.

The borough president said he hopes the group will meet by early December, sometime before Christmas.


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