Wall Street’s Florida Foray Attracts For-Profit Private Schools

(Bloomberg) — Basis Independent Schools, a for-profit education provider with 10 locations across the US, is making inroads in South Florida to serve the region’s growing population. 

© Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
MIAMI, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 27: Aerial view of palm trees framing the city skyline on October 27, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Some cities in Florida are encouraging the planting of canopy trees, including species such as gumbo limbo, oak, ash, elm, and sycamore, in place of palms. Palm trees do not sequester carbon at the same rate as native canopy trees to help with climate change. A tree absorbs carbon during photosynthesis and stores it for the tree’s life, but Florida’s palm trees are the least effective at carbon sequestration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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The company, owned by Campbell, California-based Spring Education Group, is talking to potential partners and shopping for sites in Miami and Palm Beach. The plans are in response to a shortage of private-school slots for kids of workers moving to the area as part of Wall Street’s pandemic-era shift south.

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“Demand for high-quality private schools in South Florida far exceeds current supply,” said Matt Dick, president of Basis. “There’s room and need for multiple new schools to meet the demands of the growing numbers of discerning families in South Florida.”

Related:  Wall Street’s Move South Crowds Florida’s Elite Private Schools

Basis, a co-ed school for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, has locations in places such as Manhattan and California’s Silicon Valley, where yearly tuition is $44,500 and $35,700, respectively.   

With more families expected to put down roots in South Florida as their employers open new offices, schools are now part of the conversation with homebuyers, said Danny Hertzberg, a luxury agent with the Jills Zeder Group in Miami.  

“We’re encouraging people to apply as soon as possible,” he said. “It’s just become part of my job.” 

New schools are potentially years away from opening. Another for-profit operator, Avenues, received approval in January for a campus in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, just north of the ritzy Design District, that would serve 2,440 students from pre-school through 12th grade and include dormitories. It’s expected to open in phases beginning in the fall of 2025, according to spokesperson Tara Powers.

Others looking for sites in South Florida include a branch of North London Collegiate School, according to a person familiar with the plans. Representatives of the school declined to comment.  

One of the major office developers in the area, Related Cos., is seeking sites for schools in West Palm Beach and talking with operators in a bid to encourage more finance executives to relocate there. 

“We’re doing everything we can,” Stephen Ross, Related’s billionaire founder, said in an interview last month. “We’re out there looking for land and trying to be very creative.”

–With assistance from Cathy Chan and Lulu Yilun Chen.

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