Dear Campus Community:
As many of you know, Cal State Fullerton has maintained a brick and mortar presence in South Orange County since 1989, and while its official name and location has changed over the decades — from the CSUF Irvine Campus adjacent to the Great Park to the now-named CSUF Irvine Center located at Banting 1 and 3 — its purpose has always been to extend the university’s mission of equity, access, and student success while supporting South County’s business, economic, and workforce development.
The Irvine Center and its many faculty, staff, students, and partners have long worked to achieve these goals while also seeking a benchmark that all properties of any public university must meet: an economy of scale that ensures the financial investment leads to much academic and professional success for the faculty, staff, and students who utilize the property.
Despite these efforts, due to the size and cost of maintaining the Irvine Center, it has been challenging for the university to utilize the property to the fullest extent. In 2013, the year the university purchased the two Banting buildings, Banting 1 was leased to offset cost. Because a programmatic or physical need for the university to utilize Banting 1 was never established, the lease of the building continued, most recently to Western Law School. All the while, Banting 3 served as home to our CSUF Irvine Center.
This past year, just as the pandemic hit, Western Law School’s lease ended on Banting 1, leaving the university with no suitable tenant for the space and no demand to fill it with our own faculty, staff, and students – the majority of whom were (and still are) working and learning remotely. Rather than incur bond payments on the now-empty Banting 1, the university decided to put that portion of our Irvine property on the market. While Banting 3 was not on the market for sale, the university did receive multiple offers to sell both properties — Banting 1 and Banting 3 — together.
While entertaining those proposals, the university reviewed its use of the Banting 3 property based upon economies of scale. This review, combined with many other considerations, prompted the university to accept the best offer for the purchase of Banting 1 and Banting 3.
Last week, the purchase and sale agreement was finalized, and the property is now in escrow. Assuming the sale is completed, and pursuant to the agreement, the university will lease back the Banting properties from the buyer through June 30, 2021, to assure continuity of instruction and operation through the end of the academic year. This lease-back period also will allow time for all Irvine Center Titans and the many excellent programs they run, including the CSUF Startup Incubator, Small Business Development Center, and PRactical Advantage, to transition back to either the main campus or an otherwise suitable alternative space. Easing this transition further will likely be a continued interest in virtual pedagogy as a part of a menu of teaching and learning options, post pandemic.
We anticipate that by July 1, 2021, when the university releases all interests in the Banting property, the courses that are currently offered at the Irvine Center will have completed their transition along with the Irvine Center’s faculty and staff. We will spend the next few months working with the affected parties on this transition.
Further information and background can be found at this FAQ link.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate these challenging times and search for solutions that best serve our faculty, staff, and students.
Fram Virjee, JD
Carolyn Thomas, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Administration and Finance