The Whittle School―a private school founded by former Esquire magazine Chairman Chris Whittle―has signed a 20-year lease for 620,000 square feet of office space at the Wheeler complex in downtown Brooklyn. The deal comes at the tail end of several months of negotiations between owner and developer, Tishman Speyer, and its new tenant; essentially, it ensures full occupancy for the office portion of the recently completed building at 181 Livingston Street. Whittle School was represented by CBRE’s David Maurer-Hollaender and Douglas Lehman, while Mary Ann Tighe, Jeff Fischer, Evan Haskell, Zac Price and Dave Caperna―also of CBRE―represented the owner.
The Brooklyn office building is Whittle School’s third campus in the U.S. following the opening of two locations in Washington, D.C. The for-profit facility has also had a campus in Shenzhen, China, since 2019. Whittle School plans to begin its early learning program at the Wheeler complex by the end of the year; its full kindergarten through 12th grade operation is expected to open by September 2021. On-site amenities for the private school will include a gym, 130 bicycle storage units, a theater, space for advanced robotics, recreational spaces and rooms for boarders. Additionally, the Wheeler is ideally situated at the intersection of several subway stations and lines, including the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station on the A, C and G lines, as well as the A, C, F and R lines at Jay St-MetroTech.
The 10-story office building occupied by the Whittle School sits atop 222,200 square feet of retail space owned by Macy’s. When Tishman acquired 422 Fulton Street in August 2015―in a $270 million transaction that also included the parking garage at 11 Hoyt Street―the building crowning the department store had only five stories. Later, Macy’s consolidated its operations into 278,000 square feet on the lower half of the Wheeler, while Tishman expanded the property by another five stories. It also restored the lower building’s cast-iron Art Deco façade and distinctive roof and terrace railings.
The newly built glass tower was designed by Perkins Eastman and the Shimoda Design Group, and features a 10,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan and New York harbor.