By BRITTANY DEVRIES and JOHN MALTEMPO
The University of Mary Washington and the UMW Real Estate Foundation are currently negotiating impending purchases of two parcels of real estate located near the undergraduate campus.
These two properties are in addition to the University’s purchase of two houses on College Avenue last semester, which are currently being converted into office space for faculty use next fall.
Acting President Richard V. Hurley commented on the recent sales.
“We wanted the land more than the houses,” Hurley said.
The first property, a stone house from the 1950s, is located on the corner of Hanover Street and College Avenue, across from the Battlefield Athletic Complex. The UMW Real Estate Foundation is purchasing the house for $400,000.
The UMW Real Estate Foundation, founded in 1975, is a 501c3 charitable foundation that was set up to support university development.
The foundation recently purchased the Park and Shop lot, a 21-acre lot at the intersection of Route 1 and College Avenue, to provide future student and workforce housing, core facilities, retail shopping, and entertainment.
According to Jeff Rountree, vice president for university advancement, the land that would be acquired with the Hanover Street estate would be used to make a 140 space parking lot, addressing a long-standing citizen complaint about the lack of parking near the athletic fields.
A second estate, located approximately 2 miles from campus on 244 Washington St., is also being purchased.
The UMW private real estate foundation had no part in the purchase of the second lot, and the University paid the $230,000 investment with state funds.
Hurley explained that the reason for buying the second lot concerned preserving the property next to it.
“The Route 17 property is important because it is zoned commercial and could be developed,” Hurley said. “We also wanted to protect historic Belmont.”
According to Hurley, the house on the Washington Street property is viewed as “beyond repair.”
Junior Shannon Durkin voiced concern about demolishing either of the houses located on the impending lot purchases.
“Getting rid of the houses to put up parking lots would be a bad idea, since it would ruin nice, million dollar homes just to use the land as a parking lot,” Durkin said.
Rountree hopes to keep the stone house on the property for future use.
“It is not a historic structure, but I would like to keep it as is for some future use and not tear it down, as it is a nice looking house,” Rountree said.
Hurley agreed that the University will try to keep the building intact.
“The house on Hanover could be used as a rental or to house visiting faculty or dignitaries,” Hurley said.
Currently, University faculty and guests are often housed at the Kalnen Inn at the Jepson Alumni Center, located on Hanover Street and Sunken Road.
According to Hurley, there have been no issues with either purchase so far. The buying process for the Washington Street house should be completed within the next three months, and the house on Hanover Street within two to four months.
Currently the UMW Real Estate Foundation has no plans for future purchase prospects.