St. Thomas Aquinas Pays $7 Million to Expand Campus Footprint

Real Estate In-Depth | March 24, 2021

The acquisition of Camp Venture increases the size of the St. Thomas Aquinas campus to 72 acres.

SPARKILL—St. Thomas Aquinas College has acquired the 12-acre Camp Venture property here for $7 million, which increases its campus footprint by 20%. The college’s campus now has been expanded to 72 acres.

The deal includes the 12-acres adjoining the St. Thomas Aquinas campus and a 100,000-square-foot building at 230 Route 340. The deal initially involves a leaseback of a portion of the property to Camp Venture to continue to operate at the site.

Rand Commercial’s Paul Adler was the sole broker in the transaction.

“This strategic investment expands the footprint of St. Thomas Aquinas College and allows for the future growth of the college,” said STAC President Ken Daly. “We are committed to making investments in new faculty, new programs, and new facilities such as the Camp Venture property, which will enhance our students’ experience during their time at the college while preparing them to make a profound difference in the world.”

The property is located in the immediate proximity of the four-mile Joseph B. Clarke bike trail—which begins in Tappan, runs through the hamlets of Sparkill, Orangeburg and Blauvelt, and connects to two other trails overlooking the Hudson River. For STAC’s students and 21 athletics teams, this enables the college to offer them new fitness and wellness programs.

Rand Commercial stated that as part of the sale agreement, Camp Venture will continue its operations on site, for up to 7 years, under a lease with STAC.

The Venture Center was formerly the Rosary Academy High School for Girls. Currently, the Venture Center houses the Venture Center Day Habilitation Programs, which offer various opportunities and family-like care for people of all ages with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Camp Venture services all five towns in Rockland County, and has provided assistance to more than 2,000 youth and adults.

Camp Venture’s CEO, Matthew Shelley said, “We appreciate the opportunity to continue to utilize this space and build upon our long friendship with STAC. Camp Venture plans to maintain our day programs, staffing and other operations at the site, during the multi-year period, leasing all necessary space from STAC. During this leasing period, we will evaluate other sites across Rockland County to which we can relocate our beloved programs into more modern space, and become better integrated in the community.”

STAC will ultimately use the site in an effort to expand services for the growing need of this four-year college located on lands adjacent to and across the street from the Venture Center, Rand Commercial’s Adler stated.

Orangetown Supervisor, Teresa Kenny welcomed the news of the transaction. “From its days as Rosary Academy High School which was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, to its present use as the Venture Center for Day Habilitation to its future use by St. Thomas Aquinas College, this property has been an asset to those it has served, and has been a good neighbor to the citizens of Orangetown,” she said.