The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) was the creditor owed nearly $38 million by Concordia University (CU). Because it was also the lone bidder – for $3 million – at the June 29 foreclosure auction, LCEF now owns the campus and has listed it for sale.
Two Portland organizations were hired to manage the sale: Colliers International real estate firm and Foundry Commercial. The latter describes itself as “a services business, providing traditional real estate services like property management, project leasing, tenant representation and brokerage, project management and facilities management.”
A July 6 news release from LCEF described the two: “We are working with local Portland real estate experts who are very familiar with the property and understand the needs and wants of this community.”
Some Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) Facebook group members have conjectured the sale may take time, due to at least two lawsuits against Concordia University and reported tax liens.
The LCEF news release differed. “LCEF plans on selling the property in the near future. We look forward to positioning the property so that it can be put back to good use for the community.”
CNA sponsored an informal poll recently among Concordians. See the results at ConcordiaPDX.org/CUSale. They are the basis of a letter the CNA Board of Directors is sending to the LCEF about neighbors’ concerns about – and their hopes for – the CU property.
Below are questions asked in July by CNA and answers provided by Mike Holzgang of Colliers International.
Q: Will the property be sold as a single unit?
A: Hopefully as a single unit. We have had no discussions to separate at this time.
Q: Have you received inquiries in the past year from serious, potential buyers?
A: Yes. A couple users are teaming up to acquire.
Q: What about those “encumbrances” mentioned by the foreclosure trustee at the auction?
A: Our impression is that the foreclosure sale and purchase has resolved any claim of creditors.
Q: Has an asking price been established?
A: We are going to the market unpriced with the intent to provide pricing guidance along the way. It is an excellent opportunity for an institutional buyer to acquire the property for significantly below replacement cost. As you would imagine, and I believe stated earlier, the scarcity of properties that are urban in this size range truly drive value for this gem of a property.
Q: Supposing a tax-supported organization wanted to purchase the property, but had to refer a tax levy or bond to the voters. Is LCEF willing to make a sale pending approval of a ballot measure?
A: Our decisions will be based upon the activity and urgency of interest we have with prospective purchasers of the campus.
Q: The lawyer of one creditor implied to a Portland reporter that residential development of the property may be an answer to a new housing shortage.
A: The property isn’t currently entitled to accomplish this strategy nor would it effect the value that a user of most/all of the campus buildings will derive from the sale.
Editor’s note: Visit ConcordiaPDX.org/CUSale between monthly issues of CNews for updates regarding the sale and/or future uses of the CU property.
Nancy Varekamp is semiretired from her career in journalism, public relations and – her favorite work engagement – writing and editing targeted newsletters.