The University of Arizona will purchase a small apartment complex for $1.7 million, killing a developer’s plan to build private student housing on the property.
The property, at 1051-1055 N. Warren Ave., just south of Speedway, includes more than 13,300 square feet of land with a seven-unit, 3,633-square-foot building. It sits within the UA’s planning boundary, according to the Arizona Board of Regents, “in an area designated for future development of core research or educational facilities ... with excellent connectivity to the UA Health Sciences Center,” as it is next to the Warren Avenue underpass.
The school acquired two appraisals, which valued the property at $1.8 million and $2 million, said Gregg Goldman, the UA’s senior vice president for business affairs and CFO.
The property was previously in escrow for the same $1.7 purchase price, but the private developer was unable to secure financing. The developer sought to buy the block and build student housing, Goldman said.
According to the regents, that outcome was “inconsistent with the UA’s campus master plan.”
The university acted quickly and acquired regents’ permission to bypass typical protocol for purchasing properties, as, “We believed in the strategic importance of controlling the area,” Goldman said.
The complex, owned by a trust and represented by Elaine Richardson, will be paid for using UA local funds. The transaction is expected to close in mid-November.
“We believe (the complex) has students in it,” Goldman said.
“We wouldn’t do anything until the end of the academic year.”
Until the UA determines a use for the property, it will serve as short-term office space.
In November, UA President Robert Robbins will unveil his strategic plan for the university. Development will be included in his vision , and more concrete plans for newly acquired properties could be released.
The UA recently purchased a six-bedroom, five-bath, 2,230-square-foot residential property north of Speedway for $625,000.
The rate of purchases by the university “goes through ebbs and flows,” Goldman said.
When property within the UA’s planning area opens up, the university evaluates whether purchasing it makes sense, he said.