18-22 Bruckner Blvd. in the Bronx, New York — Courtesy: Progress Capital
By Joshua Burd
An investment group has secured a $50 million loan to convert a historic Bronx warehouse to a new charter school, under a newly announced transaction by Progress Capital.
The property, located at 18-22 Bruckner Blvd., is a former ice warehouse built at the turn of the century by American brewer Jacob Ruppert Jr. Progress Capital noted that its client, Jorge Madruga’s MADDD Equities, acquired the long-vacant Ruppert Ice House building alongside partners Eli Weiss and Drew Katz, with plans now calling for a K-12 DREAM Charter School.
“It’s one of these projects that you feel will define your whole life,” said Weiss. “You’re taking a building that’s been vacant for decades and using it to educate inner-city youth.”
They will do so with the help of the $50 million construction loan secured by Progress Capital. Brad Domenico, a partner at the Tinton Fall-based commercial real estate advisory firm, sourced the financing, noting the challenge of doing so with volatile markets, difficulties in underwriting credit risk and disruption to construction projects during the coronavirus pandemic.
Architect Sir David Adjaye will design the 188,000-square-foot school, Progress said Capital. All levels will be fully renovated to create specialty classrooms such as a dance room, art room, graphic design lab, a library hall and a 6,670-square-foot gymnasium.
DREAM Charter School, a nonprofit organization, serves areas including East Harlem, the South Bronx and Newark.