The Real Deal New York

Chelsea seminary to sell historic buildings

February 09, 2011 11:59AM

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General Theological Seminary at 175 Ninth Avenue

General Theological Seminary at 175 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea is trying to rid itself of $41 million in debt and is attempting to replenish its depleted endowment fund through a plan to sell land and several of the seminary’s historic properties to a developer, who intends to convert those buildings into a condominium, according to the Wall Street Journal. “It hurts a lot of our trustees to sell any of our real estate,” Lang Lowrey, president of the seminary, told the Journal. “But we are getting a really good value.” The Brodsky Organization has agreed to pay $47.5 million for three buildings and a parcel of land currently used as tennis courts. The sale of the first of these buildings is expected to close soon, pending state court approval. The seminary also is selling a parcel of land on Ninth Avenue to Brodsky. The developer currently holds a 99-year lease on the land, which is the site of the Chelsea Enclave, a residential condo building that Brodsky built in 2009. The seminary has been suffering from declining enrollment and is currently losing $5 million a year due to debt service and operating losses, Lowrey said. Much of the space being sold is used for student and faculty housing, which is currently underutilized. Revenue from the deal would eliminate the seminary’s debt and provide renovation funds for the institution, Lowrey added. [WSJ]

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