A nonprofit is working to purchase the Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University.
Denver-based Urban Land Conservancy is under contract for the entire 25-acre campus in South Park Hill, according to sources familiar with the deal. The main address is 7150 Montview Blvd.
Providence, Rhode Island-based Johnson & Wales announced last June that it would close its campuses in Denver and North Miami, Florida, in the summer of 2021. The move will leave the private nonprofit institution with two campuses, in Providence and Charlotte, North Carolina.
ULC generally develops and manages projects that involve income-restricted housing, as well as office space leased to other nonprofit organizations. The company typically partners with other firms in its development work.
ULC’s acquisition would be the first step of a broader deal. In late January, the board of the Denver Housing Authority agreed to pay ULC a maximum of $9.5 million for a portion of the campus, assuming ULC’s acquisition goes through.
The approved resolution describes the site that DHA would buy as “a parcel representing a portion of 1800 N. Oneida St.” It states the organization will “determine the feasibility of redevelopment of the existing dormitory buildings as housing, and the further development of multifamily housing on the site.”
If the deal closes, DHA would issue a request for proposals to development firms, ultimately entering into a long-term ground lease with the chosen group, according to the resolution.
The entire campus has 13 buildings on it, according to the university’s website. Among the buildings is Centennial Hall, which was built in 1886.
Johnson & Wales paid about $30.5 million for the campus, although it didn’t buy it all at once. It purchased the eastern half — the 1985 N. Quebec St. parcel — for $8.46 million in August 1999, according to public records. Two parcels that make up the campus’ western half, both of which are listed in city records as 1800 N. Oneida St., were added in July 2003 for $22.17 million.
Prior to Johnson & Wales, which welcomed its first Denver class in 2000, the campus was home to the Colorado Women’s College and the University of Denver Law School.
The college campus is set to be the second to sell in Denver in three years. The Loretto Heights/Colorado Heights University campus at 3001 S. Federal Blvd. sold in 2018 for $16.5 million to Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners. The same company purchased the Park Hill Golf Club property in 2019.