Rockland Looks to Foster Comprehensive Approach For Appropriate Development at Nyack College Campus

John Jordan | December 2018

NEW CITY—In response to last month’s announcement by Nyack College that it is looking to sell its storied Nyack campus, Rockland County Executive Ed Day held a meeting with college executives, local leaders and the county’s planning department to discuss the future of the more than 100-acre property in Nyack.

On Dec. 7, Rockland County Executive Ed Day hosted a meeting at his office in New City with the supervisors of Clarkstown and Orangetown, the mayors of the Villages of Nyack and South Nyack, officials with the Rockland County Planning Department and representatives of Nyack College and their commercial real estate firm.

The meeting was called to address community concerns and develop a comprehensive approach to ensure appropriate development of the campus. Nyack College and commercial brokerage firm CBRE presented their plan for the sale of the campus and stressed Nyack College’s long tradition of positive influence in the community, county officials stated.

“While we all regret the departure of Nyack College developing a strong working relationship between parties is critical to the success of this endeavor,” said Rockland County Executive Day. “I appreciate the effort of Nyack College and CBRE in their transparency about their plans for the sale. This meeting was a positive first step towards ensuring that this sale brings the best value and a net benefit to the community.”

Nyack College President Mike Scales said, “We appreciate having the opportunity to converse with Rockland County leadership. This all hands-on deck meeting was a success, as it created great dialogue, open discussion and collaboration. As we move forward, we are confident that our experienced partner CBRE will manage this transition with continued transparency and the utmost professionalism.”

Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day said, “I’m glad that we have been able to continue to work across town, village, and county government to ensure that this sale ends up as a net positive for the area. This meeting generated very positive takeaways as to the process and a solid commitment from Nyack College and their Realtor to keep us tied into the process in a way that will only benefit our community.”

Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann said, “It was reassuring to hear representatives of CBRE express their willingness to understand and work within the scope of existing zoning laws as potential redevelopment of the site is contemplated.”

“We are all working together in order to keep our community intact and maintain the unique characteristics and integrity that exist today,” said South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian.

Nyack Mayor Don Hammond said, “Nyack College has been an integral part of the culture of the village for many years with their students and staff visiting our stores, living in the village and volunteering their time here. We are staying as involved as possible in the sale process to ensure any future owner will be a good neighbor to the Village of Nyack.”

County officials stated that the meeting was the first in what it said will be a “collaborative process to represent and communicate community concerns, provide transparency about the sale of the campus and ensure that smart, responsible development takes place.”

In early November, Nyack College and the Alliance Theological Seminary announced they hoped to secure necessary approvals to shift their campus academic programs from Nyack to their Lower Manhattan campus.

Officials with Nyack College said that the approximately 107-acre campus  at 1 South Blvd. in Nyack will be put on the market for sale if the plan is approved by New York State. The relocation initiative was announced by the college and seminary on Nov. 7.

The college and seminary will have their operations housed solely at their Manhattan campus at 2 Washington St. by the fall of 2019.

“Nyack College is undergoing one of the most exciting changes in all of its history,” says Nyack/ATS President Scales. “We have applied to the State of New York to offer all programs—academic, co-curricular, athletic, as well as operations—on our Manhattan campus. Repositioning campuses to be based in one major, urban area will reposition Nyack as a truly unique Christian college. This move will minimize rising costs and maintain high academic standards for our students.”

There are approximately 600 students currently enrolled at the college’s Rockland campus.

“On Monday we reached the point of the New York State application process where we were advised to communicate our intentions to shift our academics, athletics, and operations to our New York City campus,” said Jeff Quinn, VP for college relations for Nyack College. “As we wait for final approvals, we have engaged with real estate professionals regarding options for our Rockland property. There are no final decisions at this time.”

The college on its website stated in connection with its Rockland campus, “Currently the plan is for the Rockland campus to be sold. The proceeds from this sale will be used to strengthen Nyack in NYC, to keep our tuition affordable and to continue the mission to which we believe God has called Nyack; namely, ‘To prepare men and women to live the whole gospel in the whole world.’”

College officials reported that Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary are taking the appropriate steps for all operations to return to New York City, where a forerunner of Nyack College was founded in 1882.

After purchasing 28 acres on hillside, in 1897 the school moved to the Village of South Nyack. In 1956 the school was renamed Nyack Missionary College and then in 1972 changed to Nyack College to reflect the total program of the college.

Alliance Theological Seminary, previously the Jaffray School of Missions, was founded as a graduate program of Nyack College in 1960. The Jaffray School of Missions emphasized the interdisciplinary encounter between theology and the social sciences. In 1974, the Jaffray program was redesigned to include the preparation of students for North American as well as overseas ministries. The name of the school was subsequently changed to the Alliance School of Theology and Missions. In September of 1979, the Alliance School of Theology and Missions became Alliance Theological Seminary.

In 1995, Nyack College established a satellite program in lower Manhattan. By 1997, Alliance Theological Seminary classes were offered there as well.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth