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Northwestern University has purchased the buildings and land owned by Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in northeast Evanston, officials from the University and Seminary announced on July 17.
Some of the buildings are on land already owned by Northwestern that
had been leased to Seabury; the remainder of the land is adjacent to the Northwestern-owned property. The property encompasses the block bounded by Sheridan Road, Orrington Avenue, Haven Street and
Garrett Place, with the exception of two houses that are not currently owned by Northwestern or Seabury. All of the land purchased already is exempt from property taxes.
Northwestern has no plans to propose changes in zoning, which governs
the use of the buildings, said Eugene Sunshine, Northwestern’s senior vice president for business and finance.
Those buildings currently used for classrooms, offices and other academic purposes will continue to be used in that manner. Buildings used for residential and related purposes will continue to be used for those purposes, Mr. Sunshine said.
Northwestern will lease back a portion of the administrative building and residential buildings to Seabury, which is changing from a residential-based seminary with full-time students to offering degrees and courses through short residential and online courses.
“With this agreement, we’re doing several important things,” said the Very Reverend Gary Hall, Seabury’s president and dean. “We’re positioning ourselves for a new mission as the People’s Seminary, meeting the demands of a changing world and church, providing flexible education to all – clergy, church professionals, lay community and congregations. In addition, the sale allows us to eliminate our debt, balance our budget so that we will enter our new life with adequate resources to fund our ministries,” he said.