5 July 2011

Millions in seminary debt eliminated with little impact on housing capacity

New York City – General Seminary on June 29, 2011 closed on the sale of an apartment building at 422 West 20th Street across from its historic campus between Ninth and Tenth Avenues in Chelsea. Proceeds from the sale to Manhattan real estate developers, The Brodsky Organization, enabled General to eliminate close to one third of the Seminary’s current debt load. Trustees approved the sale of this and several other properties in October of 2010 as part of the Seminary’s Plan to Choose Life, a financial initiative designed to substantially eliminate debt for the 194-year-old institution, rebuild its endowment, and set it on a firm financial footing for the future. “The renovations of our on-campus dormitories, made in preparation for this sale, have yielded an increased number of on-campus housing units,” said Interim President Lang Lowrey after the closing. “As a result, even with the sale of this apartment building, the Seminary has maintained approximately the same number of units.”

Housing units in “422,” as well as on-campus units before the renovations, did not utilize space well for student housing. Prior to the sale, the Seminary had 75 housing units at its disposal. After the sale of “422” and following the on-campus renovations, the number still equals 73 albeit smaller units. The apartment building was purchased by the Trustees in March of 1957 as housing for a major influx of married students. Today, General accommodates married students in on-campus housing units as well as off-campus units.  “Such were the needs of GTS sixty years ago but times have changed and so have the needs of the Seminary,” said President Lowrey in a letter to residents prior to the sale. “We are deeply gratified that this sale has enabled us reduce the Seminary’s debt in such a significant way.”

The General Theological Seminary, located in the heart of New York City, educates and forms leaders for the church in a changing world. Founded in 1817 as the first theological seminary of the Episcopal Church, General offers certificate and degree programs including the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Theology. The Seminary is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a full-service conference center with sixty modern guest rooms.


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Media Contact:

Bruce Parker
Senior Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
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440 West 21st Street, New York City, NY 10011   |   tel (212) 243-5150  fax (212) 727-3907

The General Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.