Fuller Theological Seminary Puts Prime Pasadena Campus Up for Sale

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Fuller Theological Seminary is pulling up roots from Pasadena, where it has maintained a 13-acre campus in the heart of Old Town for 70 years and heading to Pomona, according to a release from CBRE, which is handling both the campus sale and the purchase of the seminary’s Pomona location.

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The institution is giving up its main campus to build a new state-of-the-art facility to support its booming online offerings, which Britt Vaughan, the communications director for Fuller told Commercial Observer, has risen 15 percent quarter-over-quarter.

The move, he said, is an opportunity to “set us up for the next 70 years.”

Pomona, located approximately 27 miles east of its current location, was chosen because of its diverse community and lower cost of living as well for students and staff, Vaughan said, while admitting the move was bittersweet given the seminary’s long-standing roots in Pasadena. (Before occupying its current campus, the seminary, founded in 1947, was located at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.)

CBRE’s Laurie Lustig-Bower, Chalvis Evans, Kyle Barratt and Kamran Paydar have been charged with bringing the property to market, which Lustig said will happen in the next month.

The team plans to market the properties in the portfolio by placing them into 11 groups. Thus, buyers can either bid on the whole portfolio or any combination of one to 11 groups. This provides an opportunity for both large and small investors to participate Lustig-Bower said.

“The sky is the limit as to whether it could be taken by one buyer or multiple buyers,” Lustig-Bower said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a property of this magnitude available for sale in a prime part of Pasadena. It will be exciting to see who the new owner or owners will be and their plans.”

Lustig-Bower said that in terms of asking price, “it was too premature to discuss” citing underwriting they were still doing for the client.

Fuller plans to move into its new campus in Pomona at an undisclosed location by summer 2021. A sale ahead of this date would be structured with a leaseback option, thus providing sufficient time for Fuller to leave and a new owner or multiple owners with cash while finalizing plans for the property, according to Lustig-Bower.

Property in Pasadena, one of the oldest and most established cities in Southern California, has been in high demand. In the first quarter of 2018, according to CBRE research, total property sales in the city climbed to $200 million, a 46 percent year-over-year increase, driven by institutional capital, which accounted for 45 percent of transactions and private buyers making up 34 percent. (A combination of foreign, owner/user and REITs make up the remainder.)

Vaughan and CBRE declined to disclose the exact location of the Pomona campus, which will be built from the ground up, aside from saying it will be located downtown. Both also declined to provide an expected sale price for the Pasadena properties, saying the listing was going to be put online without a specific asking cost. Lustig-Bower said they plan to market the offering globally and will give bidders a six-week time frame to make offers.

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