West Virginia University’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the purchase of a large section of Sunnyside, in a move that could pave the way for more student housing near the downtown campus.
BOG members voted by phone during a special meeting Tuesday that lasted fewer than 15 minutes. The BOG did meet in executive session for nearly a half hour before voting on the land deal. There was no discussion prior to the vote.
WVU officials also declined comment after the meeting, saying there could be a press conference in coming days. In a follow up email, WVU officials referred MetroNews to public documents posted online.
“It has answers to what’s planned for the project,” WVU spokesman John Bolt said. He added that WVU is “not prepared to discuss the details,” but will be able to “shortly.”
On Monday, MetroNews broke the story that WVU planned to spend more than $15 million to purchase 39 parcels of land in Morgantown, most in the heavily student-populated Sunnyside area. After reviewing documents submitted to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance, MetroNews learned WVU was planning to build more university housing in the area. However, details have not been made public.
Morgantown city leaders have expressed support for the project. Mayor Jim Manilla told MetroNews Monday that the deal was a good move for the city and he supported WVU’s purchase. Sunnyside has been the epicenter of riots, couch fires and wild parties that have long plagued the city.
WVU will pay $14,576,602.92 for 39 properties on University Avenue, Grant Avenue, Jones Avenue, Quay Street, Third Street, and Houston Avenue in what is called a “private-public partnership.” WVU will buy the land from Paradigm Development Group LLC and RCL Holding LLC. The sellers will “participate in the development, financing, construction and management of one or more student housing facilities,” according to the documents you can read here.
The timeline for the project is still unclear. WVU officials have not said when they plan to move forward with the project and there is no word on the effect the sale will have on current tenants in the properties WVU will purchase.
Earlier this year, WVU announced a deal to buy several acres of land in the Falling Run Stadium Loop area of Morgantown $9.5 million. That property is adjacent to Sunnyside.