The UVA Foundation also owns one of the seven condos in the 436 Brandon complex at left. If it gets the other six, the University will own everything on the street.
Having trouble getting what you want for that home or apartment building you're trying to sell? Your best bet these days is to hope that UVA wants it.
Ahead of the South Lawn project, several property owners were the beneficiaries of University largesse, including the owner of a 1,813 square-foot house at 434 Brandon Avenue which the University purchased for $1 million, a plain two-story structure that had cost the previous owner just $140,000. Other South Lawn-era purchases by the UVA Foundation, the real estate arm of the University, included the Lexington Apartments for $700,000, which is now a parking lot– as well as 408 Valley Road and 501 Brandon Avenue, a pair of 2,000 square-foot houses for which the Foundation paid $1.5 million.
Now they're at it again.
Recent real estate transaction records show that on March 14 the UVA Foundation paid Wade Apartments LLC nearly $7.5 million for the properties and buildings at 504, 512, and 516-518 Brandon Avenue.
That's far more than the combined city-assessed value of $3.9 million for the 1.674-acre assemblage. So what is UVA planning to build now?
According to UVA Foundation CEO Tim Rose, nothing.
"We'll continue to operate the units for housing until that point in the future when there may be another use for the property by the University," Rose says in an email. "In other words, this was a long-term land banking acquisition."
As Rose explains, the Foundation is tasked with finding land that UVA might want to use five or even fifty years in the future, so if the expenditures might seem high today, in the future they could be seen as wise investments.
"We buy the land, stick it in the 'bank,' and let it sit until that time when UVA needs it for some other purpose," says Rose.
"Unbelievable," exclaims local realtor Jim Duncan when told how much UVA paid for the properties. " When you've got tons of money and way-long-term goals, buying land is the way to go."
Back in 2004, Wade Apartments LLC banked some serious coin thanks to the UVA Foundation's land banking strategy, getting nearly $5.3 million for Brandon Apartments, Southgate Terrace, Monroe Apartments, and Carolina Apartments. All are still standing and functioning as housing, except for the Southgate Terrace, which was demolished for the South Lawn project.