Statement from Board Chair Gary Hall on EDS Property

A pair of stories regarding the property that Episcopal Divinity School owns in Cambridge have caused some confusion, particularly a story on the Curbed Boston website suggesting that the sale of the property had hit a “serious snag.” That isn’t the case. Indeed, the brokers with whom EDS is working have not yet circulated any offering materials regarding the Cambridge property that EDS will be offering to sell. Here is how the confusion occurred:

On Monday evening the Cambridge city council discussed a proposal by one city councilor to approach EDS about buying its property and developing it as low-income housing. It is true that EDS is, in fact, planning to sell its property as it moves into a new affiliation with Union Theological Seminary in New York City. However, EDS had no conversations with the city councilor who drafted the proposal so that EDS could confirm what property it owns in Cambridge that will be offered for sale, and was unaware that he would be making his proposal until he filed it.

Many of the participants in Monday night’s discussion before the Cambridge city council were apparently unaware that EDS had sold a significant portion of its campus to Lesley University between 2008 and 2010 and does not own all of the buildings or land that the city councilor suggested the city develop. When that fact came to light, it constituted a “snag,” but only for the city councilor’s proposal. Some of the reporting on the council meeting has left the impression that EDS was counting on selling property it had already sold to Lesley. That is not the case. When the EDS Board of Trustees made the decision to affiliate with Union, it knew about the prior sales to Lesley and exactly what property EDS still owns in Cambridge that it could offer for sale.

No negotiation with any potential buyer for the purchase of EDS’s property in Cambridge has yet begun, but one thing we can promise: we will not attempt to sell property that EDS does not own.

—The Rev. Gary Hall
Chair, EDS Board of Trustees
June 21, 2017