Jul 26, 2014

Report: Apartments to Replace Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Sale

A sale of the 100+ acre property was announced Tuesday.

Report: Apartments to Replace Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Sale
The Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary announced Tuesday the sale of its campus near Mill Valley, and its plans to relocate to Southern California.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 101 waterfront acres in Strawberry "... will be sold to a developer who plans to build apartments and a school campus."

The property is being sold to North Coast Land Holdings for an undisclosed price, according to the Seminary, who added that development challenges are one of the primary reasons for the move.

"For the past four years, we have been involved in a lengthy and difficult process trying to further develop the Mill Valley Campus property,”  President Jeff Iorg said. “We have engaged top planning firms, real estate specialists, financial analysts, legal counsel and political consultants to help us with this process. Despite these skilled professionals -- and much prayer -- we have been stymied. Gradually, we have realized these difficulties are not obstacles to overcome, but rather signposts pointing us in a different direction.”

Despite the challenges the seminary has had with development, the new developer plans to build about 100 rental units on the site, along with a new school campus, according to the SF Chronicle. 

The seminary will remain fully operational during a transition phase, with the group leasing back the campus for at least two more academic years.  

"After that, the seminary will operate a new commuter-style campus in the Bay Area, much like its current Southern California Campus," the seminary said.

Here's more on the sale from the seminary:

“Current Bay Area students will be able to complete their programs at the present campus over the next two years or at the new Bay Area campus. We are not abandoning the Bay Area and will continue to provide a quality program for this region,” Iorg said.

The decision to build a new primary campus in Southern California reflects church and population demographic projections for that region. The new seminary campus will be in the center of the largest area of projected population growth in the American West -- also meaning the center of church planting and ministry development in the region.

“Building a new campus does not mean replicating what we already have -- only in a different location. It’s an opportunity to build a new kind of seminary campus reflecting the way educational delivery methods are changing in the 21st century. We see it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance our seminary into the future,” Iorg declared.

In making the announcement, Iorg singled out two groups of people who will be impacted the most by the decision -- students and employees.

Iorg assured currently enrolled students at the Mill Valley Campus that their degree progress will not be interrupted for the next two years as the school has a lease-back agreement for the current campus. All student housing also will remain open during for the next two years. This agreement allows students enrolled at the Mill Valley Campus to complete their degrees before the seminary relocates to its two new campuses in Southern California and the Bay Area. Iorg also said the seminary will work closely with those who cannot finish their degrees in the allotted time to assure degree completion.

“New students should also continue to come to Golden Gate,” Iorg added. He underscored that the seminary will continue operations across its five-campus system and online programs during the transition.

“The seminary will be fully operational for the rest of this academic year, plus two additional academic years at its present location. Our school is open for business and will remain fully operational during the transition,” Iorg said. “We will maintain the academic programs and standards currently in place across our system. We will continue to offer degrees through both face-to-face and online instruction, as well as continue programs at regional campuses in other states.”

Iorg thanked employees for their faithful service through the many challenges Golden Gate has faced in the past. “No matter our locations, we will still need God-called men and women to staff our programs and teach our classes,” he said. “As soon as the sale is finalized, we will begin implementing our strategic plans for the future. We will work with employees to walk through these transitions together and develop the best team possible for the next season of our seminary’s life.” Just as he told students, Iorg reminded employees, “The seminary will be open tomorrow and for two more years in its present locations. Come to work and do the same good job you have been doing.”

Iorg concluded his remarks by reminding the seminary community about the importance of being a mission-driven institution, “Today, you are part of one of the boldest moves by any seminary in the past century. We are selling a campus, not closing our doors. We are relocating and repositioning for future success, not abandoning our vision. We are sacrificing short-term comfort for long-term fulfillment of our mission. We are positioning ourselves strategically, geographically and financially to impact the Western United States and the world like never before. We will all pay a personal cost for fulfilling our mission and vision this way. It will, at times, be scary and unnerving.

“Nevertheless, as I have told you on countless occasions, ‘The mission matters most.’ Like perhaps no seminary in recent history, we are standing behind that declaration with our actions today,” Iorg said.

Speaking even more personally, Iorg said, “In my heart of hearts, I believe these decisions are right. I have agonized over them and have come to believe this is God’s path for us. I have made these decisions with many regrets but ultimately, no doubts. We are headed to the future and I hope you will join me on the journey.”

For more information on the seminary’s announcement, please refer to the seminary website at www.ggbts.edu to find a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers and a video message from GGBTS President Jeff Iorg.


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