For Sale: College Campus, Convenient to New York City, Castle Included
October 5, 2019 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Adam Neumann should buy it and live out his dotage wandering the halls and hiding from his disgruntled former employees and investors.
posted by turbowombat at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry, but that is clearly Xavier's school for gifted children and I will not hear otherwise.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:49 PM on October 5, 2019 [14 favorites]

Or some tech billionaire could try out Anathem.
posted by clew at 3:55 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

How much do we all need to chip in for that MeFi compound we've been hankering for?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:14 PM on October 5, 2019 [18 favorites]

Someone call professor X.
posted by vrakatar at 4:20 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ten days ago one report referred to the property as "a turnkey campus."
posted by doctornemo at 4:29 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

How much do we all need to chip in for that MeFi compound we've been hankering for?

The Metafilter Free School?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:34 PM on October 5, 2019 [6 favorites]

You can spend almost that much on a hideous 6-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach. That one makes this campus look like a bargain.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:38 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

How much do we all need to chip in for that MeFi compound we've been hankering for?

$20, same as in town?
posted by dr_dank at 5:18 PM on October 5, 2019 [8 favorites]

I went here for 2 years! It is a really lovely & functional campus, the gym is brand new, and it's a fucking shame they mismanaged it into the ground.
posted by bleep at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2019 [8 favorites]

Only thing is the kitchen & cafeteria are tiny and it was only open between 9-3 and 4-6 for some reason and everyone was hungry all the time.
posted by bleep at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2019 [8 favorites]

I went here for 2 years!

posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:49 PM on October 5, 2019 [13 favorites]

If by Xman you mean "had a sobbing panic attack in front of 2 baffled professors in the lobby of the castle" then yes!
posted by bleep at 6:56 PM on October 5, 2019 [23 favorites]

I'm sure professors Pryde and Munroe were perfectly understanding even if they seemed baffled. You weren't the only young empath with problems controlling your abilities.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:59 PM on October 5, 2019 [18 favorites]

You could convert it into expensive homes and apartments, like they are doing to Hogwarts.
posted by eye of newt at 11:23 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's nothing like that inside, most of the buildings are from the ugly institutional styles of the 60s-90s and the older ones were falling apart when I was there a long time ago. The castle looks great from the outside but it's an ugly claustrophobic office building inside.
posted by bleep at 11:50 PM on October 5, 2019

NYU is planning to buy it and establish a Slough House for troublesome tenured professors
posted by Morpeth at 3:50 AM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

There are a surprising number of universities that are barely clinging on. In the UK, there are quite a few universities where a small downturn in the number of international students (I wonder what might cause that?) will mean the university isn't going to be solvent. Hundreds of millions are being spent on fancy and often impractical new buildings to wow the open day visitor, but the finances are based on constant growth, particularly in international student numbers because they're the cash cow. They've bought the buildings with the fees from students in ten years time.

At some point (ie. now) there's going to be a demographic slump in the number of 18-year-old home students, and a political/economic situation that's going to deter international students, and we'll be left with millions of pounds worth of white elephant buildings at broke universities with no tutors. The university boom can't go on forever and it's showing signs of fading away now.
posted by winterhill at 10:37 AM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hmmmm... The conversations I've seen in the US have assumed that all the questionable new campus construction is being financed by tuition hikes paid through student loans, which has made me skeptical of the idea of a "college bubble." (After all -- oversimplifying slightly -- the burden of those debts falls on students, while the institutions get to walk away with free money.) But if schools are increasingly running on their own debt and dreams the same way their students are, then an actual crash starts to seem a lot more plausible.

And of course as New Rochelle shows, the "book value" problem is going to raise its ugly head more and more (just as a widgetmaker's specialized equipment derives most of its value from being part of a going widgetmaking concern, and may fetch very little on the auction block). While $50M would be a bargain price for someone looking specifically to buy a turnkey college campus near NYC, there really aren't that many potential buyers out there for that specific use, and (as discussed in the article) college campuses don't convert that well to more common uses like residential developments. If creditors start to see this as a real risk, the borrowing landscape could change pretty quickly for smaller privately-run schools.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's slightly different here, because tuition for UK (and currently EU) students is capped at £9,250 per year. (Different systems exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, I'm talking about England.) It has the effect that the university can lose money on engineering and science courses requiring highly-trained staff and expensive lab equipment while making quite a tidy sum on humanities degrees that require a few part-time lecturers and a bit of photocopying.

International students are highly prized because they can pay in excess of £20,000 per year for the same course. Universities are fighting over the Chinese market in particular. At my university, 25% of the 28,000 students are from outside the EU, most of those from China. That number of high-paying international students has to keep growing if the university is going to be able to meet its financial obligations. China isn't a bottomless pit of rich parents. At some point, the numbers will stop growing.

I think there are too many universities and a lot of them are fairly mediocre. I'm not convinced that there's the demand for graduates in a lot of subjects and an awful lot of student loans aren't getting paid back (you start paying back once you earn about £26k). It has the feel of a market that's due a shakeout at some point - I certainly wouldn't be throwing up thousands of student housing units on every spare bit of land as is happening around our place.
posted by winterhill at 11:44 AM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Actually CNR was kind of the opposite, the well-regarded co-ed nursing school (undergrad & masters) was subsidizing the expensive women-only undergrad liberal arts program (until a last-ditch effort to go co-Ed at the last minute). My understanding though is that they went under due to good old fashioned bad decisions (and I think embezzlement?) rather than bad luck. Which stings even more, bad luck I can understand.
posted by bleep at 2:12 PM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Factoid: New Rochelle is where the Dick Van Dyke Show was set.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 PM on October 16, 2019

Can you convert an ADA-compliant small university to a retirement community? Photogenic ambles for the ambulant, observed suites in the main classrooms, lab and treatment space in the labs?
posted by clew at 5:02 PM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

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