After two years of discussion, Georgian Court University, in Lakewood, has reached an agreement to sell 42 acres of mostly unused and undeveloped land to the Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG) Lakewood yeshiva.
The relationship between GCU, a Catholic university, and BMG, an orthodox Yeshiva, is what makes this transaction different than many other land sales currently occurring across the country. This isn’t just about the exchange of land for equity; it is another step forward in strengthening the long-standing relationship between the two institutions of higher learning, both of which are committed to creating outstanding learning opportunities for their students and to improving the Lakewood community at large. Through this deal, both institutions will be able to more quickly meet their goals for future growth and expansion.
“As a Catholic university, we are called to be responsible for each other and care for the common good,” said Georgian Court University President Joseph Marbach, Ph.D. “This mutually beneficial partnership reflects our commitment to our core values and the Mercy tradition. It enables both communities to forge ahead to a better and brighter tomorrow.”
With more than 150 acres, Georgian Court University has the largest campus of any private religious educational institution in New Jersey. The proceeds from the sale of this mostly unused and undeveloped land will fast-track projects under the university’s 2019 master plan, allowing for reinvestment in the historic heart of campus and the enhancement of facilities to meet the evolving needs of the GCU community and rapidly growing academic programs.
“While we have one of the healthiest endowments of any private educational institution in New Jersey, this deal monetizes our existing assets, namely our largely undeveloped and unused land. It allows us to expedite plans to further reinvest in our school,” said Dr. Marbach.
FOUR KEY AREAS FOR GROWTH
Four key areas of Georgian Court University’s growth that will be accelerated by this deal are:
- the construction of a new, cutting-edge center for nursing and health sciences, to expand on our tradition of educating students for the caring professions and to meet a pressing nationwide shortage of nurses;
- the reimagining of our 1899 Casino as a new, modern student center, to meet the needs of the 21st-century student and increase accessibility to some of our core support programs;
- updates to our historic Mansion, to be used as an administrative hub; and
- the modernization of our student housing/dorm facilities, to better serve our existing population—and encourage additional enrollment—of residential students.
While the sale will allow GCU to expedite the university’s reinvestment back into its campus and fuel enrollment, it will also contribute to the development of the greater educational community as Lakewood gains respect as a center for the advancement of young people.
Mr. Howard Friedman, chairman of the Board of Beth Medrash Govoha, stated: “After many months of careful thought and planning on all parts, we are pleased to see this initiative moving forward. It’s a win-win and a great next step for the future of Lakewood.”
The partnership will provide Beth Medrash Govoha an opportunity to assist with its expansion and add student housing units. This expansion, which is close to the BMG campus, is needed and may ease the demand for housing while minimizing and even easing traffic and parking impacts in the area.
While the precise timeline for renovations and construction of the new facilities are undetermined, there will be minimal interruption to campus life and the learning experience.
Georgian Court University’s mission-focused commitment to the students and the communities we serve has resulted in some $20 million invested in campus renovations, updates, and improvements since 2015. The land deal and other funding will expand that total investment to $75 million over the next five years. Advancement of the master plan through this transaction also allows us to realize the next generation of growth at GCU.