LADWP pays $28M for former university campus in Atwater Village

The Department of Water and Power intends to staff up at the site, which had been Shepherd University before it went bankrupt

Jan.January 07, 2020 08:00 AM
3200 North San Fernando Road
3200 North San Fernando Road

UPDATED, Jan. 7, 9:55 a.m.: With a total of $7 billion in infrastructure and IT projects planned, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has acquired an Atwater Village property — previously occupied by a private university — where the nation’s largest public utility intends to staff up.

The LADWP paid $28 million for the nearly 6-acre property at 3200 N. San Fernando Road, according to public records. It includes a single-story 83,600-square foot building constructed in 1972, and parking for 262 cars.

The location had been the former Shepherd University, which shut down after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2017. Founded in 1999, the small Christian university offered classes in theology, music and nursing, and poured $6 million into the property in 2012, marketing materials show. In total, the site encompasses more than 260,000 square feet of land.

At the time of the bankruptcy, the property was valued at $16 million, and was owned by an entity linked to real estate developer Shahram Afshani, The Real Deal reported.

Now, the sellers were Kenneth K. Lee and Margaret J. Lee, through an entity called 3200 North San Fernando LLC. Kenneth Lee confirmed their ownership. Extensive listing materials — which included a video tour of the property — had Kenneth Lee’s name emblazoned on the top.

LADWP spokeswoman Palla Adler did not immediately respond to requests for comment. LADWP director of real estate Massoud Saboury could not be reached.

A document filed with LADWP board of commissioners shows that the utility plans to hire a significant number of employees as it maps out massive projects over the next five years. Those will involve $5 billion in infrastructure and information work for power; and $2 billion for water.

The property was purchased through the LADWP’s reserve fund, which had $229 million last year.

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