It’s been a big week for private school real estate. First Spence bought a lot for $26 million, now Columbia Prep, a private K-12 school, has made a pricey purchase of their own. The school just bought a townhouse for $8 million.
The home was purchased from a Mr. Roland Karlen, a retired advertising executive according to a 2009 article in The New York Times. The article notes that Mr. Karlen purchased his townhouse in 1968 for a paltry $25,000, back when the Upper West Side still a rough and tumble frontier. The home located at 34 West 94th Street, was slowly surrounded by an expanding Columbia Prep campus.
The 247-year-old school has been swallowing up townhouses on the block for years. “We have a street of brownstones from number 20 to number 32, and also number 36. So this will complete our street,” an administrator at Columbia Prep told The Observer proudly.
The Times article also adds that while Columbia Prep has been not so quietly annexing the block of townhouses on West 94th Street, the school is prone to offering homeowners above-market prices for their properties. Mr. Karlen watched his neighbors sell off their homes to the school and evidently felt that his time had finally come. “The owner has always been talking to us,” the Columbia Prep source told The Observer. “He knows that we, you know, have the rest of the brownstones so I guess when he decided when it was time to sell he contacted us,”she added. The home was never on the market.