Franciscan study centre on sale for £3.5m
A religious education centre in Canterbury has gone on the market with a price tag of £3.5 million.
The Franciscan International Study Centre has been put up for sale following the decision to close it at the end of June.
The three-acre site in Giles Lane was built in the 1970s and later extended, with 60 people from all over the world studying there at its peak.
But principal Fr Thomas Reist, who has led the centre for the past five years, says falling enrolment has forced the trustees to sell up, with no students registered.
He said: “People came here to learn about the Franciscan way of life, which is a deep appreciation for the beauty of creation and a simple lifestyle focused on God. They took that back to their own countries and have opened schools there.
“That has meant that, over the years, the numbers travelling from abroad to us has continued to fall.”
Franciscans are a religious order within the Catholic church, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi.
The Canterbury centre, which is not part of the University of Kent campus, is the only one of its kind in the country.
The complex includes a main building of over 15,000 sq ft, hosting a library, offices and meeting rooms, a common room, refectory and kitchen.
There are also five residential blocks providing 43 bedrooms, most with en suite, making the site ideal for student accomodation. Fr Thomas said: “The decision to sell has not been taken lightly, but with a heavy heart, because the centre has enjoyed a vibrant life.”
The freehold is being sold through Canterbury-based firm BTF Partnership.