Marymount California University has put its Rancho Palos Verdes campus and student housing property up for sale following an announcement in April that the university would be shutting down on Aug. 31 this year.
The sale of the MCU campus and “Villas” property will be managed by Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group based in Santa Monica. The deadline for offers on both properties, which can be purchased individually or as a portfolio, is July 12.
The closing of MCU’s doors was rooted in struggles that were either caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to MCU President Brian Marcotte.
“The bottom line is the university has been struggling for the last couple of years with declining enrollment aggravated by the COVID pandemic. And shifting from in-person to online courses all had an impact on our ability to create a sustainable situation,” Marcotte said.
MCU was pursuing to be acquired by another university prior to its closing, a process Marcotte said it had worked diligently on for more than a year.
However, issues related to long-term accreditation of the combined university delayed the process, putting MCU in a position that led to the termination of further discussions.
“When we did that, the path was pretty well defined that we would have to close the university,” Marcotte said.
The MCU campus sits on 12.6 acres of land with unobstructed ocean views, while the student housing property in northwest San Pedro has 86 townhouse-style units on 11 acres of land.
Deed restrictions on the student property require it to be operated for educational use through 2028.
Interest in the campus properties has been strong, according to Marcotte, who said some entities have come forward with desires to use the campus land for residential developments, senior living and primary and secondary schools.
Marcotte did not disclose financial details of offers that have come in.
While the process of placing the properties for sale has been a “bittersweet one,” according to Marcotte, a silver lining has come in the form of an educational foundation that will be established with the sale’s proceeds.
The foundation will be focused on providing student scholarships, educational programming, institutional and organizational grants, and other educational initiatives, according to a statement from MCU. Foundation resources will prioritize MCU students but may also be allocated to students through other universities or individual requests, according to Marcotte, who added that there is still work to be done in setting up the foundation’s operations and limits.