The nearly 8-acre spread (with eight buildings still intact) is now on the market for $40 million, earning it high marks as the most expensive new listing this week on realtor.com®.
In December 2018, the school announced that it was shutting down after the spring semester. The administration is now in the process of winding down and working out options for student transfers to nearby institutions in order to complete their degrees.
“Our decision to close comes only after a tireless pursuit of multiple options to remain open and continue serving our students as a beacon of opportunity and hope to achieve the dreams of a college education,” a notice on the college website states.
Founded in 1962, the school located in one of Boston’s best neighborhoods faced a steep decline in enrollment. According to the Boston Globe, Newbury was down to only 751 students in 2016, from 5,384 enrolled students in 1996.
The college had transitioned from a junior college offering certificate programs and associate degrees to a baccalaureate program. However, the liberal arts institution was placed on probation by the regional accrediting agency over concerns about its finances, and ultimately decided to shut its doors.
Even though the now-broke college had a meager endowment, it is sitting on seriously valuable land. Packaged as a redevelopment project, the site is located “in the heart of one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the Commonwealth,” the listing notes.
Perched atop Fisher Hill in a mainly residential neighborhood, the former campus is convenient to “world class employers, universities, hospitals, and institutions located in the immediate area as well as those scattered throughout Greater Boston.”
The seven-parcel offering currently includes “academic and office buildings, residence halls with 183 beds, and other student-oriented campus amenities,” according to the Boston Real Estate Times.
Options for the campus include giving it another try as a destination for higher education to razing the structures to make way for high-end residential units.
Newbury College isn’t the first institution to be doomed by financial struggles. In fact, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, made headlines a few years ago by buying up a prime plot of nearby Chestnut Hill from cash-strapped Pine Manor College. It is located only a couple of miles from the Newbury site.
The couple reportedly paid Pine Manor $4.5 million for the land and proceeded to build an enormous mansion, carriage house, and yoga studio. With Brookline practically in walking distance from Chestnut Hill, perhaps the couple could make another investment in land no longer needed for higher ed. Given the location, it might be considered a very smart move.
Christopher Sower of Colliers International holds the listing.