America’s largest Yeshiva in Lakewood is about to get bigger after land deal signed with neighboring Georgian Court University

LAKEWOOD, NJ – America’s largest Orthodox Jewish yeshiva is going to be bigger according to an announcement today by Georgian Court University President Joseph R. Marbach. On Wednesday, the college released the details of a 42-acre land purchase from neighboring Georgian Court University, a Catholic university.

“Today, I am proud to announce that after nearly two years of carefully considered negotiations, we have reached an agreement to sell some 42 acres of mostly unused land at the edge of our campus, and several administrative buildings along Lakewood Avenue, to our neighbors at Beth Medrash Govoha,” Dr. Marbach said in a statement. “As a Catholic university, we are called to be responsible for each other and care for the common good. This mutually beneficial partnership reflects our commitment to this core value and the Mercy tradition, enabling both communities to forge ahead to a better and brighter tomorrow.”

The dollar amount of the land deal was not immediately released by BMG or Georgian Court, but the university said it will invest $75 million in campus improvements over the next five years.

“For Georgian Court, this sale presents an incredible opportunity to meet the changing needs of our students and the greater community by leveraging one of our greatest assets: our geographic footprint. With more than 150 acres, GCU has, by far, the largest campus of any private religious educational institution in New Jersey,” he added.

According to the release, the 42-acre sale will allow Georgian Court University to reinvest into its aging historic campus

“With more than 150 acres, Georgian Court University has the largest campus of any religiously affiliated educational institution in New Jersey,” the statement continued. “While we have one of the healthiest endowments of any independent educational institution in New Jersey, this deal monetizes our existing assets, namely our largely undeveloped and unused land. It allows us to expedite plans to further reinvest in our school,”

Here’s where the money from the sale will be spent:

  1. The construction of a new center for nursing and health sciences;
  2. The reimagining of its 1899 casino as a new, modern student center;
  3. Updates to its historic mansion, to be used as an administrative hub; and
  4. The modernization of its student housing/dorm facilities.
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“After many months of careful thought and planning on all parts, we are pleased to see this initiative moving forward. It’s a win-win and a great next step for the future of Lakewood,” Howard Friedman, chairman of the board of Beth Medrash Govoha, said.

The following was published in a press release issued jointly by BMG and GCU:

The partnership will provide Beth Medrash Govoha an opportunity to assist with its expansion and add student housing units. This expansion, which is close to the BMG campus, is needed and may ease the demand for housing while minimizing and even easing traffic and parking impacts in the area.

While the precise timeline for renovations and construction of the new facilities are undetermined, there will be minimal interruption to campus life and the learning experience.

Georgian Court University’s mission-focused commitment to the students and the communities it serves has resulted in some $20 million invested in campus renovations, updates and improvements since 2015. The land deal and other funding will expand that total investment to $75 million over the next five years. Advancement of the Master Plan through this transaction also allows it to realize the next generation of growth.