In an earlier post we reported that there was some confusion emanating from the Cambridge city council concerning the campus property being sold by Episcopal Divinity School. Local media had reported that the sale had “hit a snag” because some of the campus is owned or co-owned by Lesley University. EDS Board Chair Gary Hall has since offered a statement to clarify the situation for concerned Episcopalians and local residents.
Statement from Board Chair Gary Hall on EDS Property
On Monday evening the Cambridge city council discussed a proposal by one city councilor to approach EDS about buying its property and developing it as low-income housing. It is true that EDS is, in fact, planning to sell its property as it moves into a new affiliation with Union Theological Seminary in New York City. However, EDS had no conversations with the city councilor who drafted the proposal so that EDS could confirm what property it owns in Cambridge that will be offered for sale, and was unaware that he would be making his proposal until he filed it.
Many of the participants in Monday night’s discussion before the Cambridge city council were apparently unaware that EDS had sold a significant portion of its campus to Lesley University between 2008 and 2010 and does not own all of the buildings or land that the city councilor suggested the city develop. When that fact came to light, it constituted a “snag,” but only for the city councilor’s proposal. Some of the reporting on the council meeting has left the impression that EDS was counting on selling property it had already sold to Lesley. That is not the case. When the EDS Board of Trustees made the decision to affiliate with Union, it knew about the prior sales to Lesley and exactly what property EDS still owns in Cambridge that it could offer for sale.
No negotiation with any potential buyer for the purchase of EDS’s property in Cambridge has yet begun, but one thing we can promise: we will not attempt to sell property that EDS does not own.