Williamsburg Charter High School

The owner of a brand-new school building in Williamsburg is putting it on the market for $30 million after its tenant, the Williamsburg Charter High School, failed to pay rent.

According to a real estate listing for the property, which sits on Varet Street in East Williamsburg, the charter school needed to enroll over 1,000 students this year in order to cover its annual $2.3 million rent. But the school — one of three managed by the Believe High Schools Network [more on Believe HERE — fell short, enrolling only 850. The listing states that enrollment suffered because of construction delays, which pushed the school’s move-in date back by a year and caused school to begin three weeks late this year…

Like traditional public schools, charter schools receive money based on how many students they enroll, so when Williamsburg Charter lost students, its budget shrank. According to the 2009-10 audits of the Believe network’s three high schools, the network also spent more money per-student than it received from the state.

Charter schools were given about $12,400 per-student from the state last year and Williamsburg Charter spent over $16,000 per-student. It spent more per-student at its two other charter high schools, which are located in a district school in Williamsburg. These two new schools, Believe Northside and Believe Southside, did not take in any private donations, but Williamsburg Charter received $37,000 in philanthropic contributions…

Asked why he was selling the building, owner Paul Grossman said he needed the money. Grossman, who build the Varet Street building for the charter school, would not comment on Believe’s finances.

This is not the first time the Believe network has become entangled in real estate problems. Last summer, we reported that that the city and state education departments were investigating the network for holding classes at a facility that was only approved for factory and office use
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CHARTER SCHOOL ON MARKET FOR $30 MILLION; March 3, 2011; Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY) 
EAST WILLIAMSBURG — The owner/developer of the Williamsburg Charter High School building has placed it on the market through Massey Knakal Realty Services…

Brendan Maddigan and Mark Lively, both directors of sales at Massey Knakal, who have the listing, are seeking an investor for the school, which was completed and opened in the fall of 2010.

Massey Knakal has “investor pools” to draw from in its marketing efforts, including institutional buyers and local investors, according to Maddigan.

“We do have someone in mind,” he said. “But we want someone who is willing to think a little out of the box and be well compensated with a nice return on his investment.”

The school, which is in its first year of a 30-year lease, is paying $2.3 million in rent annually, to go up to $2.6 million after two years. Under the current lease, the responsibilities of the landlord extend only to the exterior maintenance of the building…

It is outfitted with state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and amenities — like a fitness center, a two-story rock climbing wall and an assembly area.


Anonymous said...

I have made frequent calls to this school inquiring information about the article I read about the schools finances. All they would say is that it's only rumurs. Now I have a child who will be a Junior in the fall and I want to know if I would need to transfer my child to another school.

andallthat said...

Is an online real estate posting a "rumor?" Are flyers posted in the hallways about paying students $100 for getting new students to enroll "rumors?" Are four principals in five years a "rumor"?