Gordon-Conwell and Real Estate Investors Enter into Agreement for Apartments Sale - Gordon Conwell

Gordon-Conwell and Real Estate Investors Enter into Agreement for Apartments Sale

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a joint venture of real estate investors Lakeland Capital and Seabrook Real Estate Partners have entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement for all six apartment buildings on the seminary’s main campus. The transaction, pending town approval of the buildings’ non-academic use, follows a two-year process that included extensive discussions involving the seminary, town officials, and the seminary’s neighbors.

The joint venture of Lakeland and Seabrook will seek to upgrade the seminary’s 209 apartments with refinished interiors and lease to market, offering some income-restricted units while maintaining a commitment to let existing residents remain and to provide units for a substantial number of Gordon-Conwell faculty, staff and students alongside new residents with no seminary affiliation. Neither the seminary nor joint venture plan to add new buildings to the campus or substantially alter the footprint, height, or exterior appearance of existing buildings.

In 2022, the seminary announced it planned to sell some or all of its 102-acre campus to adjust to a rapidly shifting higher education environment. The pending transaction will generate funds and savings sufficient to let the seminary remain in South Hamilton on the remaining campus.

“Changes buffeting higher education in general and theological education in particular have dramatically reduced demand for traditional residential seminary study. As a result, apartments that once were a wonderful asset now put significant financial pressure on Gordon-Conwell,” Gordon-Conwell President Dr. Scott W. Sunquist said. “We’re extremely grateful that in the Lakeland and Seabrook joint venture we are working with a buyer with deep ties to our community and a commitment to preserving the beautiful campus the seminary has called home since our founding 55 years ago. We see this transaction as developing an ecology for community life.”

Town officials have been involved throughout the process, representing the interests of neighbors and the town overall.

Hamilton Select Board Chair Caroline Beaulieu said of the pending apartment sale: “I appreciate the collaboration and transparency from the seminary and am grateful that we’ve found a path forward that provides financial relief to the seminary and town with minimal impact to the property and surrounding residents. This also sets us up to continue to thoughtfully plan for the future of the property while helping make progress towards our affordable housing goals.”

“Town officials and board members have worked extremely hard on this endeavor over the past two years, with the benefit of very helpful input from neighbors,” said Town Manager Joseph Domelowicz Jr. “The result is a proposal from Lakeland and Seabrook that checks three important boxes: The plan is extremely low impact, with no increase in the number of people living and working on campus compared with previous levels; the property will immediately generate much-needed tax revenue for the first time in more than 75 years; and the town will make important strides toward meeting its state-mandated affordable housing target without new construction.”

“Lakeland Capital is honored to collaborate with long-time partner Seabrook, the Seminary and Town on this exceptional project. Having grown up and attended high school here, I understand and appreciate the community’s unique sense of place. We are committed to intentionally approaching this project by prioritizing current and future residents through the enhancement of the apartments’ interiors over new construction, while providing revenue to further the Seminary’s and Town’s funding needs and maintaining the community’s idyllic setting,” said Alexander R. Westra, managing partner at Lakeland Capital.

“Seabrook Real Estate Partners looks forward to partnering with Lakeland Capital, the town of Hamilton, and the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to create a vibrant and collaborative residential community. We endeavor for our enhancements to provide a unique and beneficial housing environment to future residents,” said Vincent G. MacNutt, managing director of Seabrook Real Estate Partners.

Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Multifamily Advisory Group advised Gordon-Conwell in the marketing of the property.

 


GORDON-CONWELL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY:

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary was formed in 1969 and combines a rich tradition with cutting-edge educational innovation. Rooted in the gospel and God’s Word, the seminary seeks to develop Christian leaders who are thoughtful, globally aware, spiritually mature, and ready for a broad array of ministries. Leveraging the economic value of underutilized apartments on the Hamilton campus while still providing on-campus housing for the Life Together experience is part of the seminary’s strategic renewal process.

LAKELAND CAPITAL:

Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Lakeland Capital is a private, muliti-family investment company active in select East Coast markets. Founded in 2018, Lakeland Capital is a leader in multi-family investment and management. With a growing investment portfolio that includes more than 700 rental apartment units, 12,000+ square feet of commercial space, and more than $150 million in transactions, the firm seeks high risk-adjusted returns by investing in existing multi-family assets through which it can add value with physical and operational improvement. Lakeland Capital is setting the industry standard through its long-term approach that creates a better place for tenants to live while preserving capital and generating above-market returns for investors. In addition to Westra, the firm’s other principal is John A. Carroll.

SEABROOK REAL ESTATE PARTNERS:

Seabrook is a Concord, Mass.-based investor in multi-family residential, industrial/flex and office properties. Seabrook’s principal is Vincent MacNutt, CPA.