Georgian Court University sells 42 acres in Lakewood to Beth Medrash Govoha (SLIDESHOW)

Deal will expedite launch and expansion of GCU's master plan

Two institutions of higher learning based in Lakewood agreed on a land deal after two years of discussions.

Georgian Court University on Wednesday said it is selling 42 acres of mostly unused and undeveloped land to the Beth Medrash Govoha Lakewood yeshiva.

The proceeds from the sale 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.

The relationship between GCU, a Catholic university, and BMG, an orthodox Yeshiva, is what makes this deal different than many other land sales. This isn’t just about the exchange of land for equity, it is another step forward for both institutions to be able to 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,” Georgian Court University President Joseph Marbach said. “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 religiously affiliated educational institution in New Jersey.

“While we have one of the healthiest endowments of any independent 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,” Marbach said.

Four key areas of Georgian Court University’s growth that will be accelerated by this deal are:

  1. The construction of a new center for nursing and health sciences;
  2. The reimagining of its 1899 casino as a new, modern student center;
  3. Updates to its historic mansion, to be used as an administrative hub; and
  4. The modernization of its student housing/dorm facilities.

“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,” Howard Friedman, chairman of the board of Beth Medrash Govoha, said.

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 it serves 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 it to realize the next generation of growth.