It seems that the Spence School isn’t content reigning as queen of the single-sex private school scene on just one block of East 90th Street. The elite girl’s institution, named one of the top ten prep-schools in America last year, has added substantial property to their Upper East Side empire.
City records show that the school bought a lot at 412 East 90th Street for $26.1 million. The acquisition won’t put the school in the red, however: Forbes claims that the school had an endowment worth over $85 million in 2008.
The newest addition, however, is much further East than the central school buildings. While the school’s main campus is located at 22 East 91st Street, and it also owns a row of properties across the street, the new lot is way over at First Avenue, encroaching on the territory of rival Chapin.
The Observer put in a call to the Spence communications department but has yet to hear back. Oddly enough, the only reference to be found on the lot comes from the school’s Wikipedia page. “On September 16, 2011, the Spence School announced the purchase of a fourth building, a very large space located at 412 East 90th Street, that will become a state of the art physical education facility (with multiple gyms, courts and fields) within the next several years.” No news sources carry any mention of this.
Spence has recently been locked in a conflict with neighborhood locals who object to some of the school’s construction plans. In 2008 Spence purchased the Wanamaker Munn mansion at 17 East 90th Street for $27 million. The school hopes to build a glass atrium connecting the main building to the adjacent townhouse, sheltering students from the dangerous Upper East Side world.
We can’t imagine that the city would sign off on a glass tunnel stretching all those avenue blocks to the new soon-to-be gymnasium, however. Perhaps a fleet of town cars will be on call to bring the girls to sports practice?
The lot was purchased from the Hertz Corporation and seems to include a massive car lot. Perhaps the school will scrap the gym plans and keep the lot as a garage to house the older students’ Jags and Beemers.