NEW YORK CITY—Pace University has signed a 21-year lease on 140 William Street, a 49,200-sq.-ft. building at the corner of Fulton and William Streets in Lower Manhattan. The building will be the new home of the undergraduate Performing Arts Department in Pace’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, hosting public performances and events of local and national interest by the department’s acting, musical theatre and dance programs and by the acclaimed Actors Studio Drama School at Pace.

Scheduled to open for the fall 2012 semester, the seven-story building will be renovated to house classrooms, studio and practice spaces, scene and costume shops, a TV studio, multiple performance spaces and a state-of-the-art, 100-seat theater to be used year-round. The upgrade to the building’s interior will be partially funded by a $1 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

The undergraduate performing arts program has surged over the last decade from approximately 100 students to nearly 400. Under Nira Herrmann, named Dean of Dyson College in 2004, the department added the Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in acting and musical theater as well as a commercial dance program. The program averages 1,000 applicants a year for 100 open spots.