One of the most iconic Jewish spaces in Los Angeles may soon become the site of a major expansion for one of the country’s leading Jewish schools.
Milken Community School and American Jewish University (AJU) announced today that they have entered into a purchase and sale agreement for Milken to purchase AJU’s Familian Campus in Bel Air.
In an email to the Milken community Tuesday evening, Richard Sandler, Milken’s chairman, and Dr. Sarah Shulkind, Milken’s head of school, sketched out an initial vision for their plans at the property.
They wrote, “With the property being in such close proximity to our main campus and the site’s history as an important Jewish communal resource, Milken’s acquisition of the Familian Campus is a unique and unparalleled opportunity for our school’s short and long-term use.”
“We look forward to working in the weeks ahead with the Milken Community School leadership to complete the sale of the AJU Familian campus. While the sale is not yet complete, we are very excited about this opportunity – and its potential to significantly advance the missions of both AJU and Milken,” said AJU President, Dr. Jeffery Herbst, in an emailed statement.
Sandler and Shulkind wrote that they plan to use the site “for the benefit of Milken students, particularly through athletics, wellness, performing arts, Jewish programming, and several other important initiatives.”
While details of the sale agreement and the timing of the close were not made public by the parties, Milken leadership shared in a community note that they look forward to “using the Familian Campus and its many treasured resources starting Spring 2024.”
The 22-acre site, which is less than a quarter-mile away from Milken’s main campus, was under contract to be sold to Educational First, but the deal fell out of escrow last June.
In an op-ed in the Jewish Journal last year, AJU President Jeffrey Herbst wrote that AJU decided to sell its Bel Air Campus, which first opened in 1977, to “unlock the value of that asset so that we could continue with our mission and make meaningful changes to our programs.”
Herbst added, “AJU is taking a bold step because that is what is required to address the problems that the Jewish community faces. Our track record demonstrates that the return on our new initiatives is very high, and we look forward to using all of our resources in service of the Jewish community in Los Angeles and across the country.”
AJU chose Milken over Chabad of California, the other interested party. Details of the offers were not made public.
This is a developing story.