The university failed to close escrow by an April 17 deadline to purchase the 72-acre Bethany University campus, and the property is back on the open market, the Assemblies of God announced Tuesday.
This came in the wake, according to Olivet officials, of not being able to purchase the nearby Borland campus as part of a large-scale campus they had envisioned in Scotts Valley.
Relaying a message from the Olivet board president Dr. Andrew Lin, Olivet spokesman Nathanael Tran said the university now plans to leave Scotts Valley.
“We plan to move back to San Francisco,” Tran said.
Tran said it was the inability for Olivet to purchase the nearby Borland campus that caused the university to pull out of the deal for Bethany.
“Olivet University had requested three extensions,” Bethany University Chairman James Braddy said in a prepared statement. “In each case, Olivet was unable to perform according to the mutually agreed-upon contract. Negotiations for a fourth extension did not prove acceptable to either Olivet or Bethany.”
Trans said Olivet originally learned about the Bethany campus while looking to purchase the Borland campus, a 488,000-square-foot facility on the other side of Highway 17.
Tran said Olivet’s motive was not simply to purchase the Bethany campus, but to continue a tradition of Christian learning at Bethany while expanding Olivet to an operation that would also fill the Borland building.
“Olivet always had that vision,” Tran said. “Due to complications with the original property, it just didn’t work out.”
Tran said it has not been decided if Olivet will leave immediately or if the university will finish out the school year, which ends June 20. Commencement is June 30, according to Olivet’s website.
The Assemblies of God has extended a lease deal to Olivet to finish the year, according to Braddy.
Bethany campus for sale, again
The Assemblies of God announced Wednesday, April 18, that the sales agreement between Bethany and Olivet was no longer in force.
“The Board of Trustees regrets the failure to successfully negotiate the sale to Olivet University, as it hoped this would have kept a viable Christian college in Scotts Valley,” Braddy said in the statement.
An uncertainty hung above the school’s neighbors before the deal fell through.
“Everything is honestly hanging, and so is the neighborhood,” said 34-year Scotts Valley resident Bonnie Bailey on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s very quiet. It’s scary. It’s like, what’s going on?”
Bailey said she had made friends with some of the Olivet students, and she was worried about what would happen to them if the university left.
The university’s website, www.bethany.edu, was shut down Wednesday morning and remained inoperable throughout the day. However, some students were seen on campus walking between classes.
Braddy said Bethany would aggressively market the campus, and he hoped it would be sold by the end of the summer.
The Assemblies closed Bethany University in June amid financial woes surrounding the 92-year-old institution.
In August, Olivet agreed to purchase the campus from the Assemblies of God.
The purchase price was never made public. However, the campus was valued at slightly more than $9 million in 2009. At the time, Olivet President William Wagner said the purchase price was essentially the payment of Bethany’s debt.
Although not publicly stated, the college has been reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel to be in debt as much as $15 million, which caused its closure.