Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Cooper Union can thank the Chrysler Building for some of its good fortune

Interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal today on how Cooper Union has sidestepped the economic crisis while other college endowments suffer.

Cooper's most valuable asset is a gift from Peter Cooper's family -- the land under the Chrysler Building. With 1,000 students and a $57 million budget, Cooper currently receives $7 million annually in ground rent from the iconic Art Deco skyscraper. And under an unusual arrangement with roots in the school's original charter, the holder of the Chrysler lease is assessed city real-estate taxes -- but that money, currently $12 million annually, goes to the school. Over the decades, New York City has challenged the arrangement, but Cooper has prevailed in court.

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