Progressive Action Group Demands Fuller Seminary Stop Sale of Campus Until Agreement on Future Use of Site Be Negotiated

Published : Monday, September 17, 2018 | 4:59 AM

A local progressive action group is “demanding” that Fuller Theological Seminary stop efforts to sell its Pasadena campus until a “community benefits agreement” that will govern future development of the site be negotiated.

Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, known as POP, said it sent a letter on September 16 to Pasadena City officials as well as the Fuller Theological Seminary president and board of trustees demanding that future development of the Fuller campus – which the school is abandoning to move to Pomona – incorporate strict guidelines that require significant affordable housing and other community benefits.

Community benefits agreements are used in many cities to make sure that developers address community needs.

The Fuller campus, located in downtown Pasadena, is one of the largest development sites in the city. Its 13-acre campus includes 267 multifamily residential units and 300,000 square feet of office, administrative and classroom space as well as separate library building and considerable open space.

Fuller, for 70 years a fixture in Pasadena’s downtown, announced last May it intended to leave the city was putting its entire campus complex up for sale.

In its letter, POP — a multi-issue community coalition which said its mission is to make Pasadena a “more just, democratic and inclusive city” – noted that the city’s Master Development Plan for the future of the Fuller site, which includes a commitment to affordable housing, “has gone largely unfulfilled.”

The group claims that Fuller violated the city’s Master Plan when, in 2014, it sold 197 apartment units in several apartment buildings to a San Francisco-based development, Carmel Partners, displacing over 180 households.

Carmel Partners sought to build a luxury housing complex on that site, but community opposition to that plan caused Carmel to abandon that original specific proposal.

POP’s letter includes the following set of demands:

  • A community benefits agreement, signed by the City, POP, and any developer seeking to purchase and development on the campus, that would lay out the developers’ rights and responsibilities on that site.
  • A linkage fee in the Master Plan area on the development of non-residential buildings that would provide revenue to the City’s Housing Trust Fund
  • An affordable housing production requirement within the Master Plan area
  • A temporary rent freeze for all tenants on Fuller properties until Fuller finalizes its move
  • A commitment to enforce the Pasadena Tenant Protection Ordinance citywide
  • Adoption of a Just Cause Tenant Protection Ordinance citywide

In a statement, POP said that if Fuller proceeds with the sale of its properties and the city does not adopt strict development guidelines for the site that includes a significant number of affordable housing units the group promises to mobilize “fierce community opposition, and potential litigation” to stop any development from proceeding.

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