After 43 years in Jackson Heights, the main campus of Plaza College will call Forest Hills home starting next September.
Plaza College has agreed to a 15-year, 40,000-square-foot lease with Muss Development LLC and will move into the first two floors of the Forest Hills Tower at 118-35 Queens Blvd. The move of the main campus from Jackson Heights, where the school has been located since 1970, is designed to celebrate the school’s upcoming 100-year anniversary in 2016.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency had previously occupied 200,000 square feet of space in the building for its regional headquarters in response to Hurricane Sandy. The space had been previously occupied by JetBlue.
FEMA will still maintain a presence in the building, but the school will occupy a portion of the ground floor and the entire second floor.
Exclusive use of the building’s private rear courtyard will be provided for the school, as well as a separate, dedicated entrance on Queens Boulevard.
“It is our 100-year anniversary in 2016 and we wanted to celebrate that anniversary with something that’s new and exciting for the students,” Plaza College spokeswoman Brittany Travis said. “The building will provide more of a true collegiate atmosphere.”
The new Forest Hills campus will be of similar size to the Jackson Heights location, but Travis stated that more contiguous space in their future home will benefit students. The Jackson Heights campus, located at 74-09 37 Ave., has the majority of two floors but shares space on two other floors in its current building.
“Right now, in the current building, we’re trying to keep it as modern as possible,” she said. “In the new space, we will have new labs and bigger common areas while still maintaining our Jackson Heights location.’
Travis also believes that the strictly commuter school’s new location will be much more accessible for students, regardless of their means of transportation.
“Jackson Heights is convenient for people who take the train but not for those who drive,” she said. “The new building will be good for both.”
She could not comment on the future of the Jackson Heights campus, as internal discussions regarding the location are still ongoing. She also declined to comment on the monetary cost of the move.
Muss Development Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Jeff Kay is excited about Plaza College relocating to Forest Hills, believing that it can greatly benefit its new neighbors.
“The college moving in will benefit the area well,” Kay said. “Plaza College will bring more people into the area, and when it comes to the surrounding shops and restaurants, it will bring in more revenue too.”
Kay also believes that construction of the college’s exclusive entrance as well as the transformation of FEMA’s former space into that of a school will be completed in time for the start of the next school year.
Also to be installed are staircases and an elevator in order to keep the college separate from other tenants in order to avoid congestion in the lobby of the building.
Around 800 students attend the private college, which offers degrees in business and medical fields. Travis believes the move is a way to elevate not only the school, but the students’ ability to learn and grow.
“It’s a step forward,” she said. “It’s a great way to bring the school and the student body to the next level.”