Oakland leaders work to save university after $49M loan default
Holy Names University hits the market for $70M
The property can continue as a school campus or be redeveloped for residences
Oakland-based Holy Names University has officially hit the market, according to a release by CBRE. The nearly 60-acre property is asking $70 million, according to a person familiar with the listing.
Holy Names announced earlier this year that the school will cease operations after the spring semester in May. The 155-year-old Catholic college defaulted on a $49 million loan from Preston Hollow Community Capital, based in Dallas.
The university is located at 3500 Mountain Boulevard in Oakland and takes up 56.8 acres. The site has 15 buildings that include a performing arts center, gymnasium, chapel, library, 30 classrooms and housing for 450 student beds.
Holy Names is open to the possibility of selling to an investor that would pursue non-educational opportunities.
“While HNU seeks to attract a successor option, the property can continue as an education campus or be redeveloped for residential use under the current Oakland General Plan and the California State Density Bonus program,” CBRE said.
Investors could see the possibility of bringing larger homes to the area, but the location could make it less attractive for apartment development.
“It could be a candidate for single-family housing or condominiums,” Tim Warren from Nai Norcal, said. “Apartments would be unlikely given its proximity to downtown Oakland and public transportation.”
For comparison, the site of a Los Angeles university recently sold for $80 million. UCLA purchased the 24.5 acre Marymount California University in September in its largest acquisition of another university.
The City of Oakland stated it wants to partner with the university to preserve Holy Names status as a university.
“We request your collaboration with us, Preston Hollow Community Capital and other stakeholders to preserve Holy Name’s current site use for the purposes of higher education,” city officials said in a letter to the school.
When the university realized it would have to shut its doors, it reached out to 70 schools to see if they were interested in taking over the university’s operations, financial and debt obligations. The school couldn’t find an investor to take over the educational services.
“None of them could take on the challenge,” Sam Singer, a university spokesperson, said.
Singer warned earlier this year that the university faces more than $200 million in deferred maintenance and regulatory compliance upgrades at its 66-year-old campus. If a partner wasn’t found the university “could be out on sale to the highest bidder.”
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