Defying Odds, BDB Converts Hotel for FOUND Study In Record Time (STUDENT HOUSING)

By ccsullivan
Sep 20, '23 2:30 PM EST
Image courtesy FOUND Study
Image courtesy FOUND Study

The construction leader and expert in adaptive reuse, Tallal Bhutta's BDB Construction Enterprise, has announced the completion of an innovative, 1,355-bed student housing conversion of a former grand hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

A press release on the historic 525 Lexington Avenue project by FOUND Study, the country's fastest growing student and intern housing brand, follows.

Employing techniques for accelerated project delivery that are atypical in major cities, Bhutta orchestrated the second of two new conversion projects this year that took only seven months from the closing of building sale to the client obtaining clearance for initial occupancy — an extremely fast turnaround, especially for a historic landmark.

“Time is everything,” says BDB’s Bhutta. “On the construction site, our goal is exceeding the owner's expectations related to schedule — and budget and quality, too, of course. This is made possible when the general contractor is involved the earliest phases and decision making."

The two recently completed conversions of the high-rise buildings have created sorely needed student housing in the iconic former Marriott East Hotel,as well as new apartments in what was previously a Hilton Doubletree. 

FOUND Study brings innovative student living
to historic 525 Lexington Avenue

  • FOUND Study Turtle Bay offers students and interns newly renovated rooms and amenities across 406,261 sq ft.
  • General Contractor is BDB Construction Enterprise

FOUND Study, the country's fastest growing student and intern housing brand, opened FOUND Study Turtle Bay, their fifth building in New York City. Formerly the Marriott Hotel East at 525 Lexington Avenue, the newly renovated property offers students, interns, and academic program participants 1,355 beds of housing and luxury amenities across 34 stories. Applications for fall housing are now open.

Built in 1923, 525 Lexington is a New York City Landmark, designed by Empire State Building architect Arthur Loomis Harmon. Over a century later, the property has opened its doors to students and interns as FOUND Study Turtle Bay. After ceasing operations as a Marriott Hotel in 2020, the property was purchased by FOUND Study's parent company, Hawkins Way, in early 2023. With many of the hotel's century-old Romanesque Revival details preserved in partnership with BDB Construction Enterprise, the building blends world renowned architecture and the latest in residential design for a truly unique living experience. Alongside newly renovated single, double, triple, and quad rooms, residents will enjoy amenities designed to foster community and academic success. FOUND Study Turtle Bay offers 24/7 security and is home to 30,000 square feet of communal amenity space, including a fitness center, laundry room, game room, performing arts studio, study room, community kitchen, and lounges.

"At FOUND, we're dedicated to creating high quality, trusted housing solutions for students, interns, and our partners. As a former large-scale hotel, the existing property provided us with the opportunity to create new housing options for hundreds of students, with amazing amenities and a prime location. We see FOUND Study Turtle Bay and its sister property FOUND Study Midtown East as the future of student housing in NYC and we're thrilled to start welcoming residents this fall," said Andrea Colagrande, Managing Director at Hawkins Way/FOUND.

FOUND Study Turtle Bay is located in the heart of Midtown East, providing residents with easy access to schools such as CUNY Baruch, LIM College, the New York Institute of Technology, and Marymount Manhattan College. Residents are also minutes away from New York City attractions, restaurants, shopping, and transportation hubs, including Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Station. The central location makes FOUND Study Turtle Bay an ideal home for students and interns looking to immerse themselves in New York City culture and make the most of their experience living in New York City.

Residents at FOUND Study Turtle Bay will also have access to regular community events, exclusive discounts to FOUND partners, and perks at FOUND Hotels across the country.

About FOUND Study
FOUND Study, a division of FOUND, is a privately-owned provider of affordable student and intern housing, offering comfortable rooms and co-lifestyle spaces in major cities, including New York, Boston, Providence, San Francisco, and Oakland. Facilities are amenity-loaded and in prime locations for the lifestyles of students and interns. Housing is available by the semester, summer, or academic year. Spaces are rented through strategic partnerships between FOUND and higher education partners as well as directly to students and interns seeking accommodation. FOUND Study's partners include Northeastern University, Stanford University, New York Institute of Technology and CUNY.

About Hawkins Way
Hawkins Way Capital is a vertically integrated real estate company with $2.5 billion of assets under management on behalf of institutions and individuals focused on value-add and opportunistic investments across various asset classes and geographies. The company seeks niche theses targeting attractive risk-adjusted returns. Its disciplined approach leverages the principals' investing experience and extensive network to execute strategies that offer long-term value.

About Tallal Bhutta and BDB Construction Enterprise
With academic degrees in construction management, structural and civil engineering and valuable field experience with all aspects of building construction, Tallal Bhutta is founder and CEO of BDB Construction Enterprise, a construction provider that innovates with impactful strategies to expedite construction, conversion and renovation processes. Steeped in his uncle's waterproofing and construction business in the late 1990s, Bhutta launched BDB in 2011 as a masonry and roofing contractor, and the company has progressively grown into a general contracting (GC) enterprise handling complex, multimillion-dollar renovation works. Recent projects by BDB include the transformation of a factory and warehouse building into a mixed-use church in the South Bronx, the 150-unit Brooklyn Watchtower housing development, renovations of a Manhattan building for Baruch College and New York University, the exterior restoration of the Renwick Hotel, as well as a 53-unit commercial conversion creating residences leased by Hunter College as student housing.