Institutions agree on plan for sale of Hyde Park property

UChicago, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary take step toward UChicago purchasing facilities

The University of Chicago, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the McCormick Theological Seminary have signed a non-binding letter of intent setting forth the proposed plan for the University to purchase the buildings and underlying real estate of each school.

The University of Chicago is committed to preserving the educational use of the buildings on the property, which is located across 55th Street from UChicago’s Hyde Park campus. The property consists of a 3.5-acre parcel and is situated in one square block bound by 55th Street, Greenwood Avenue, University Avenue, and 54th Place, with mixed-use educational facilities that have a total area of approximately 172,000 gross square feet, open space, and surface and underground parking. Although a specific use has not been finalized, the University anticipates the adaptive reuse of the buildings that will support its educational and research mission.

“The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the McCormick Theological Seminary are valued and respected neighbors, and the University of Chicago is committed to being a good steward of this important property for its intended purpose of education,” said Katie Callow-Wright, executive vice president of the University of Chicago. “We look forward to working with both institutions as we move toward finalizing this agreement.”

The non-binding letter of intent provides that the Lutheran School of Theology and the McCormick Theological Seminary would have a right to lease space in their existing buildings from the University of Chicago for a limited period of time. In addition, the letter of intent provides for LSTC and McCormick faculty and students to access University shuttle services and dining halls.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by LSTC’s Board of Directors and McCormick’s Board of Trustees and is expected to close later this year, subject to the parties reaching agreement on definitive binding agreements, customary due diligence, and other legal and board approvals.

“LSTC has called this site home since 1966, and it is filled with extraordinary memories for multiple generations of students, staff and faculty,” said LSTC President James Nieman. “This agreement supports LSTC’s strategic plan to ensure long-term sustainability and engagement with our community. It also helps us maintain a dynamic learning environment in a changing world. As we leaseback our space and reimagine our future, we intend to remain on the South Side of Chicago, which we consider home.”

McCormick President David Crawford said: “We are delighted to join with our friends and partners at LSTC in this transformational opportunity for both of our schools. I am grateful to University of Chicago President Alivisatos, LSTC President Nieman, and all of our colleagues and advisors who have worked tirelessly to reach this historic agreement. We look forward to exploring new avenues of engagement and cooperation with LSTC and the University, and especially look forward to working with our wider McCormick community as we continue to transform and prepare for our third century of service to the church and the community.”