La Salle University partners with 4S Bay Partners on investment in Northwest Philadelphia

August 25, 2023

Students walking on campus

PHILADELPHIA—Recently, La Salle University partnered with 4S Bay Partners on the sale of two campus properties.

The sale comes on the heels of the approval of a new strategic plan for the University, Ascend, which focuses on providing an exceptional student experience that prepares current and future students for successful lives and careers. To prepare for the development of a campus master plan that will support the new strategic plan, La Salle engaged in an assessment of its overall university footprint. This included reviewing buildings and land that are important to the future with a specific focus on student expectations and needs.

In this assessment, La Salle Apartments and St. Theresa Court Apartments were identified as properties that could be repurposed to better meet the emerging needs of the University and the neighborhood. In consideration of selling these properties, La Salle was seeking a partner that would provide an opportunity to convert the residential facilities to more productive uses that not only support the campus experience but also neighborhood growth and vitality.

The purchaser of the properties, 4S Bay Partners, is a family office that has a history of investments in Northwest Philadelphia, including the St. Vincent’s Home Project that is focused on addressing homelessness in the Germantown neighborhood. 4S Bay has also invested in St. Joseph’s House, located in Philadelphia, which provides housing and case management services to homeless college students, including students from LaSalle University. The group is focused on eliminating prejudice and inequities in the communities where they invest and look to create economic opportunities in marginalized communities.

“We saw a lot of synergy between La Salle University’s mission and the mission of 4S Bay to create economic opportunities in marginalized communities,” said Jessica Sarowitz, 4S Bay Partners managing partner.  “Given our partnership with the Depaul USA DAX house in East Germantown and investment into the St. Vincent’s Home Project in Northwest Philadelphia, this is a perfect opportunity to expand our role in this section of the City, while creating a community partnership with La Salle University.”

The partnership envisions that through reinvestment, the property would strengthen the mission of the University and the overall student experience.

“Among the possibilities within our partnership will be meeting the needs of housing insecure college students, providing safe and affordable housing for seniors in our neighborhood, and providing clean, solar energy to the other housing investments 4S Bay has made in Northwest Philadelphia,” said University President Dan Allen, Ph.D.

Most important to La Salle was the keen interest of 4S Bay Partners in having La Salle students, faculty, and staff engaged with the residents of these properties and with the programming that will be offered to the residents.

“We see this as a national model for all colleges and universities across the country with excess student housing that value their responsibilities to their immediate neighborhoods and are looking for innovative solutions to meet the most pressing needs of the community, while creating meaningful opportunities for community engagement and experiential learning,” Allen said.

As the use of these properties and the partnership develops, the University will keep its neighbors and community engaged and informed as the overall intent of the sales is to benefit the entire neighborhood.