American Jewish University puts 35 acres in Bel-Air up for sale

Trend toward online learning prompts decision on hilltop campus

American Jewish University’s Sunny & Isadore Familian Campus (AJU)
American Jewish University’s Sunny & Isadore Familian Campus (AJU)

With a dwindling number of students and a rise in online learning, American Jewish University has decided to sell its 35-acre hilltop campus in Bel-Air.

The 75-year-old school is listing its Sunny & Isadore Familian Campus campus at 15600 Mulholland Dr., just east of the 405 Freeway, the Commercial Observer reported. The asking price has not been disclosed.

The school said proceeds from the sale of Bel-Air land will fund a range of academic and community programs. It will maintain ownership of its 2,200-acre Brandeis Bardin Campus in Simi Valley.

The Bel-Air campus includes academic and residential complexes, as well as the Gindi Auditorium, two art galleries, the Bel and Jack Ostrow Academic Library and the Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library, the Lowy-Winkler Family Rare Book Center, and the David Allen Shapiro Memorial Synagogue.

The sale will provide more flexibility for the institution “as the Jewish community and world at large have changed significantly,” the school says. It comes shortly after AJU launched a digital platform called Maven for online classes and digital public events.

With a dwindling undergraduate population, the university launched an exploratory process in 2020 to lease out underused parts of the Bel-Air campus it’s occupied since 1977, and consider options for future use, the Commercial Observer reported.

American Jewish University was formed in a merger of the University of Judaism, founded in Los Angeles in 1947, and the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.

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Eastdil Secured will handle the listing.

Stuart Gabriel, chairman of Arden Realty and director of the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, said AJU’s Familian campus is stunning and well-located between the city and the San Fernando Valley.

He said the decision to sell the Bel-Air campus indicates a challenge posed by the pandemic and a rise in online learning.

“I anticipate that there will be quite a few bids for the facility, and given recent real estate trends, it should command quite a price,” Gabriel told the Observer.

“There are perhaps no facilities that have the range of uses provided with that type of locational attractiveness and ease of access. The facility likely offers robust asset appreciation opportunities over the coming years.”

[CO] – Dana Bartholomew

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