On Jan. 26, Mercyhurst an-nounced the closure of the North East Campus. Purchased in 1991, the 84-acre property includes buildings previously owned by St. Mary’s Seminary. Known for its historic buildings built over 100 years ago, the campus has offered a wide variety of associate degrees and certificate programs. Additionally, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the North East campus served as quarantine housing for students who tested positive.
At the start of COVID-19, institutions of higher education faced many new challenges. Online learning soon became a necessity, and teachers were faced with an extreme level of stress and un-certainty among rising cases and lockdowns. Among this, Mercyhurst found a new need for unity among faculty and students. In 2020, programs from the North East campus began to transition to Erie. In 2021, Mercyhurst also purchased the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse on East Grandview and began extensive renovations where nursing classrooms, labs and offices are now located. The purchase came with a mutual ben-efit with an agreement that the Sisters would continue to live in the Motherhouse and that future Sisters of Mercy would always be welcome.
“I feel like both the purchase of the Motherhouse and selling of the North East campus are good investments, and it is definitely very cool to see all of the improvements and changes they’re making to make our main campus as efficient as possible,” sophomore Emily Cummings said.
The campus was sold to Ehren-feld Companies (eCOS), led by Jonathan Ehrenfeld. Ehrenfeld is also the founder and CEO of Blue Ocean, a real estate investment and asset management firm based in Baltimore, Maryland. Ehrenfeld has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years and is no doubt enthusiastic about his future work with the campus. The growing interest of eCOS in the service industry and hospitality made for a perfect fit to fuel increasing opportunities for stu-dents and the community, as well as the downtown area. Ehrenfeld also said in a recently published article that he was attracted to the unique features, history and location of Mercyhurst North East, but perhaps most noticeable is his interest in the potential positive community impact. Mercyhurst will continue its affiliation with the Northeast com-munity through its Police Academy, as well as maintain a beneficial relationship with the campus’s new owner, eCOS.
Although the plans for the campus are still undecided, it is likely that the new campus will be converted to a multi-functional sports complex, with the historic buildings possibly being used for hosting events. The announcement is certainly bittersweet as Mercyhurst’s 30-year ownership comes to an end, but also comes with much excitement for the Erie community.