BH Properties buys Oakland Hills campus of Holy Names University

Purchase of 57-acre campus avoids foreclosure auction scheduled later this month

BH Properties' Steve Gozini with Holy Names University at 3500 Mountain Boulevard in Oakland
BH Properties' Steve Gozini with Holy Names University at 3500 Mountain Boulevard in Oakland (Google Maps, Crunchbase)

BH Properties has bought the 66-year-old campus of Holy Names University in Oakland.

The Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm purchased the 56.8-acre former Catholic college at 3500 Mountain Boulevard, the San Francisco Business Times reported, citing unidentified sources close to the deal.

The sale price was not disclosed, but the university had listed the shuttered campus this spring for $70 million. The 155-year-old university closed in May after its final semester.

The school had defaulted on a $49 million loan from Preston Hollow Community Capital, based in Dallas.

The campus has 15 buildings that include a performing arts center, gymnasium, chapel, library, 30 classrooms and housing for 450 students.

Holy Names was in discussions with a buyer — presumably BH — interested in preserving the campus for educational use, a source with knowledge of the deal previously told the Business Times.

The sale came three weeks before the property was slated to go up for bid at a foreclosure auction on June 30.

BH President Jim Brooks told Real Estate Capital USA last year the company was eyeing distressed properties around the country with plans to purchase their loans from lenders and eventually assume ownership. 

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Campus marketing materials suggested that the Oakland Hills property could be redeveloped into housing.

But since it was listed for sale, Oakland officials have called for its preservation for educational use. A group of city leaders sent a letter to Holy Names in March saying the college was vital to the city’s economic development and workforce. 

They urged the college to find another educational institution to keep the campus open after Holy Names closed.

Holy Names officials said last month they had reached out to more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities, as well as smaller liberal arts colleges in the Bay Area, about taking over the campus.

But they believed the $200 million in deferred maintenance had likely deterred potential buyers.

Holy Names University, founded in 1868, was a private Roman Catholic university founded in Oakland by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a teaching order from Quebec, Canada. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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