November 3, 2015

University sells 690 graduate student and faculty apartments

In early October, the University of Chicago sold 19 apartment buildings and two vacant lots to Pioneer Acquisitions LLC, a New York-based real estate investment firm. The portfolio contains 690 apartments that house graduate students and faculty members.

The University decided to sell the properties to fund teaching and research activities, according to Calmetta Coleman, University director of communications for civic engagement. Coleman said the timing of the sale took advantage of a strong real estate market, caused by a recent influx of businesses and restaurants in Hyde Park.

The University purchased the majority of these properties when the real estate market was weaker and property prices were low. It did so to provide secure, quality housing for students, faculty, and staff within walking distance of campus.

The 19 apartment buildings are located on South Blackstone Avenue, South Greenwood Avenue, South Woodlawn Avenue, South Dorchester Avenue, South Kenwood Avenue, East Hyde Park Boulevard, South Ridgewood Court, East Madison Park, and South Kimbark Avenue. The two vacant lots are located on East Hyde Park Boulevard.

Though the sale sizably reduced the University’s total residential property holdings, there are still 14 buildings available for rent by graduate students and nine buildings available for rent by faculty and staff, according to the University of Chicago Residential Properties’ website. The University has not purchased new property for graduate student housing to make up for the loss caused by this sale.

“We recognize that our graduate students, many of whom are not local to the Chicago area, require a high level of residential services. The University has launched a process to develop better support for our graduate students seeking residential housing,” Coleman said.

The University announced plans to sell the properties in March and listed them with Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, a commercial real estate agency, in May. The University is not disclosing the financial details of the sale at this time.

The decline in housing did not affect faculty and staff employment, as staff members who lived in these buildings were given the opportunity to stay in their buildings and positions under new ownership. Rent at other University-owned housing has not been affected by this sale.

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