Eric Schmidt Emerges as White Knight for NYC’s Princeton Club
Schmidt, a Princeton graduate who’s donated tens of millions to the Ivy League school, has bid on the club’s loan through his family’s investment office, according to people familiar with the situation.
If his bid prevails, Schmidt would provide capital to make improvements so the 10-story private club on West 43rd Street is more suitable as a co-working space, the people said. It’s not known how many other bidders Schmidt is competing with or if his current bid is the highest. The auction is scheduled to conclude Nov. 29.
The storied club -- which includes two restaurants, banquet space, squash courts and 58 guest rooms -- ran out of cash after being closed for 15 months during the pandemic and losing about one-third of its 6,000 dues-paying members, according to people familiar with the club’s operations.
After efforts to raise capital failed, lender Sterling National Bank put the club’s $39.3 million debt in default and enlisted Newmark Group Inc. to sell the note by the end of November.
A representative for Newmark declined to comment.
The club has no affiliation with Princeton University, in contrast to other Manhattan-based Ivy League clubs, some of which are supported financially by their associated schools.
Schmidt, 66, ranks 56th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $27.9 billion. The former Google chief executive officer’s family investment office is based in the same Menlo Park, California, building that also houses his philanthropic foundation, established in 2006 with his wife Wendy Schmidt.
A former trustee of Princeton University, Schmidt is also on the club’s member roster. His donations over the years to Princeton include $25 million in 2009 to support technology research, money to rebuild the school’s computer science department and $5 million last year to endow a professorship of indigenous studies.
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