A citizen’s group is threatening legal action and “fierce community opposition” if its demands regarding the sale of the Fuller Theological Seminary property in midtown Pasadena are not met.
Pasadenans Organizing for Progress! (POP!), which wants the property used to help the city meet its affordable housing goals, is also calling on Fuller to stop all negotiations for the property that may be under way “so that the City, Fuller and POP! can meet to discuss a community benefits package that will benefit all parties,” states a letter from the group to Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, City Manager Steve Mermell, Fuller President Dr. Mark Labberton and members of the school’s board of trustees.
In May, Fuller officials announced plans to sell its 70-year-old Pasadena campus and move to a new location in Pomona by 2021. The 13-acre property includes 267 multifamily residential units and 300,000 square feet of office, administrative and classroom space, as well as a separate library building and considerable open space.
In the letter, POP! leaders state: “If Fuller is unwilling to act in a socially responsible way, then it is the city government’s responsibility to adopt rules and laws that serve the needs of Pasadena residents, and that includes making sure that the Fuller campus — one of the last large development sites in the city — is utilized to promote the public interest rather than allow Fuller, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational institution, to profit from the sale of its campus to the highest bidder and for the buyers to turn the campus into an enclave of luxury housing out of reach for most Pasadena residents.”
The letter is signed by POP! Co-chairs Skip Hickambottom, an activist and local attorney, labor leader Pablo Alvarado and Kimberly Douglas, a former Caltech librarian. The nonprofit organization has 150 members, said POP! spokesperson Ed Washatka.
POP!’s letter also calls for a community benefits agreement to be signed by the city, POP! and any developer seeking to purchase and development on the campus.
A price has not been set for the property. City officials have said they are not interested in purchasing the campus, but they do want to sit in on discussions with prospective buyers.