Pacific School of Religion puts campus building up for rent

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The Pacific School of Religion, or PSR, has put one of its campus buildings, the Seeley G. Mudd Building, up for rent this month, according to commercial realtor Lori Rosenthal, who is handling the property lease for Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services.

PSR’s plans come after a dispute with its neighbors, in which surrounding residents and PSR students expressed outrage at the school’s proposal to demolish part of its campus to build a luxury senior living facility. The school ultimately announced it had discontinued its construction plans in January.

The choice to lease the Mudd Building is part of the PSR’s new initiative to reconfigure its campus and “steward (its) campus resources,” according to a PSR campus update from PSR president David Vásquez-Levy. With the exception of moving a few walls, Rosenthal said she hopes construction on the Mudd Building will be limited.

Renting out the Mudd Building is a one of multiple “extreme strategic decisions in light of declining enrollment” PSR must make, PSR Chief Business Officer Patrick O’Leary said.

The Mudd Building’s space — which is more than 12,000 square feet — is currently underutilized, according to Rosenthal. O’Leary added that the up-to-$30,000 in rent from leasing the entire Mudd Building will also allow PSR to derive a steady revenue that can then be poured into school programs.

Leasing the Mudd Building could be an option for campus to consider for additional student housing. In January 2017, the UC Berkeley Housing Master Plan Task Force identified nine sites for the possible construction of additional student housing amid a veritable campus affordable housing crisis.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email the campus’s real estate division has yet to look into the possibility of renting the Mudd Building for student housing.

“While Housing does not have specific plans or current discussions with the Pacific School of Religion at this time, we remain open to investigating possibilities and we welcome student ideas and feedback,” added campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff in an email.

Earlier this year, the Berkeley Student Cooperative also considered purchasing property from the PSR to expand its affordable student housing options.

O’Leary, who is a UC Berkeley alumnus, said PSR hasn’t “ruled out any potential tenants except for those who philosophically wouldn’t fit” and would be “very happy” to have some entity related to UC Berkeley lease the space.

Rosenthal said she has yet to hear any interest from campus, but added that she and her realty company are “absolutely open” to the possibility of leasing to campus.

“(The Mudd Building) is designed as a school building, and it really makes a lot of sense as a school building,” Rosenthal said. “PSR is really respectful of the community.

Contact Sydney Johnson at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sydjohnsonnews.