Brooks Institute President Edward Clift sent notices on Tuesday, July 26, to contractors to suspend construction for up to 30 days on three Downtown Ventura properties as the institute’s parent company, Green Planet (also referred to as gphomestay), based in Massachusetts, assesses its finances. In February, Clift announced that the world-renowned photography school, officially known as Brooks Institute Holdings LLC, would be moving its entire campus to Downtown Ventura, something his alma mater, Savannah [Georgia] College of Art and Design (SCAD), had done with great success.
Brooks Institute is scheduled to start classes in early September, both at the Downtown Ventura properties and at its current location at 5301 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura. The Downtown Ventura locations that had been under remodeling construction include 21 California St. and 101 Chestnut St. (a total of 23,000 square feet), which are owned by OFI Management LLC; and 505 Poli St. (approximately 16,800 square feet), the five-story building behind City Hall and owned by the city. It is unclear if classes will proceed as scheduled in downtown.
“I am waiting for direction from the board of trustees,” Clift said, noting that the board would be holding an emergency meeting next week.
Jim DeArkland, manager of OFI Management, relayed his surprise about the suspension.
“I am really stunned,” he said. “I am hoping for the best for Brooks and a way for them to work through it.”
Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins said the city was “in holding mode but we are optimistic for now.”
Construction began in late May and is almost 75 percent complete. The construction contracts are worth approximately $3.5 million.
Calls to Christine Lin, co-founder and president of Green Planet/gphomestay, were not returned by deadline.