Land banking: It's always a buyer's market for UVA

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. 

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I don't get it. Why is the University paying so much above market and assessed value for these houses ?

Nancy, if UVA wanted to give you a bunch of money take it. Think about it. You buy a house near UVA. Some realtor calls, says I have a client who is interested. Well, it's not for sale. I'll give you a million bucks. Ok, here are the keys.

With UVA it's always who owned the property. Good ole boys will be good ole boys!

UVA needs more property like a moose needs a hatrack! The amount of property taken off the City tax rolls and used by UVA today is one big chunk of change. Might be interesting to find out just who owned all these properties. I think the City should pass a law requiring UVA to publish yearly all of its holdings and show which pay taxes and which don't. Well, there may be a solution to another City problem with all this acquiring of property. Let's get the City to sell the Belmont Bridge to UVA and they can repair it or build a new one! Or we could change the name of the City to Wahooland and turn it into an amusement park. Some of the UVA faculty who have been on TV lately look like they belong in a park or in zoo and not on the campus of a university.

"UVA needs more property like a moose needs a hatrack!" It will as it continues to expand. "I think the City should pass a law requiring UVA to publish yearly all of its holdings and show which pay taxes and which don't. " The State has not granted the City the right to pass such a law. UVA makes an annual payment "in lieu of taxes" to the City for property taxes the City is not able to levy. UREF pays taxes on its holdings until it deeds the property to UVA. UVA also pays taxes on property it does not use for educational purposes. The City does not seem to be that concerned with getting money from UVA. It is my understanding that the City has allocated $400k for UVA's use to create a pocket park on the northeast corner of University Avenue US29N. UVA also pays the City for fire protection instead of the County. That is the main reason the City is spending $14M to biyild a state-of-the-art fire station in the southwest corner of the City near the stadium. Most likely it will continue paying the City even after the County's Ivy Road station is built.

Nice try, no cigar! @cville eye. Your defensive response feels as if you are an employee of UVA. Further, your response begs the question. THE REAL QUESTION IS WHY DOES UVA NEED TO CONTINUE TO EXPAND? Quality does not equal quanity. I've taught at many better institutions than UVA and they just don't seem to need to expand. The PILOT or SILOT paid by UVA to the City is about 10% of what the tax would be if all UVA property was on the tax rolls. The UVA Real Estate Foundation is a tax dodge of the highest order.

The fire business is just plain silly. This isn't 1712, when people paid for fire service and had plaques on their houses. No plaque, sorry, burn down. Also when will UVA pay the City for all the expense of the GH5 trial? Hmm...............................................................................

@ Lawn Lounger. Just curious. I would like to see a list of all the better-than-UVA institutions that you claim are not expanding.

If UVa were buying property to expand housing for there employees I applaud that effort. Many employees of UVa cannot afford to live in the City and must drive long distances to work. With gas prices rising this tough . Even many faculty chose to live far from the City and subsidized housing would improve the University community.

@Lawn Lounger, UVA has to expand by State mandate.
" UVA to the City is about 10% of what the tax would be if all UVA property was on the tax rolls." Stop making up numbers. Besides a considerable portion of UVA is in the County and that's where the money for County land would go.
"The fire business is just plain silly." What is silly about paying for the services you get? Do you think fire service is free?
Oh, and I am not an employee of UVA or anybody else.
"I've taught at many better institutions ..." I can not imagine anyone hiring you to teach. You don't seem to know much.

@ Cville Eye

Just wanted you to know some fool wrote a comment and signed your name!

@ chris g

How about Stanford for openers. The rest of the list would give away my identity

Stanford? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Your comments have made it clear why you are not there now.

@Lounger, how is old Leland anyway?

So how many stories would I have to put up showing Stanford's expansion before we declare Lawn Lounger either an idiot or liar?

Here are just a few from a quick Google search:

Stanford Hospital Expansion -

Stanford Library Expansion -

Approval for New Academic Buildings -

@Chris G, I suspect he's both.

@chris g - Bubba, go back to your roots in Greene County. A lot you know about Stanford. The hospital isn't on the University Campus and the other two "expansions" are on existing property. So, wroooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong!!!!!!!

@cville eye Damn, some fool keeps writing comments and signing your name. Must be one of those lawyers from the GHFive case.

@Chris G, you knoooow it's a waste of time don't you? Some people think that adding an additional 2 - Million sq. ft. of construction is shrinking. I'm through with that person.

Lawn Lounger is a tool.