OU Trying To Sell Parcels Housing Bob Evans, Baymont Inn

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Ohio University will be looking to sell two parcels of land it owns near East State Street that are currently home to Baymont Inn and Bob Evans. The university’s board of trustees voted Friday to declare to two parcels as surplus, which will allow the university to sell the properties.

The university owns several parcels of land on the southern side of East State Street — property that used to serve as the university’s airport. OU acquired the airport in 1943, but when the new highway for Route 50/33 was planned in the late 1960s, the university decided to relocate the airport to its current location off Route 50 near Albany.

Ohio University receives rental income from most of the businesses on the south side of East State Street from Home Street to Lowe’s, with the exception of the stretch from Applebee’s (which is on the site of the former Athens County Engineer’s Depot) to the Athens Community Center.

According to OU Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding, the university owns the 3.259-acre parcel of land at 20 Home St. (Baymont Inn) and 2.07 acres at 357 E. State St. (Bob Evans) and receives ground lease payments from those two businesses.

“The ground lease terms were negotiated at a very favorable rate as these parcels were among the first to be leased by the university to stimulate economic activity on East State Street,” Golding wrote in an email to The Messenger. “As each of the properties has been fully developed and the ground is not contiguous to other university property, the university is choosing to divest of our interest and reinvest these funds elsewhere to generate future growth and economic activity.”

Golding said the university will engage a real estate broker and those two parcels will be listed for sale.

Bob Evans currently pays $2,083.33 per month in rent to OU ($24,999.96 a year) and the Baymont Inn’s rent is $2,000 per month ($24,000 per year). The Messenger previously reported that in addition to its monthly rent, the rental agreement with Baymont Inn stipulates that the hotel must also pay OU 5 percent of its annual revenue that exceeds $500,000. In 2011, that portion of revenue that was paid to Ohio University was $42,000.

Baymont Inn was purchased by Motel Partners LLC — owned by Athens businessmen Tom Parfitt and Brent Hayes — in March during an auction held by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office for $1.26 million.

On Monday, Hayes told The Messenger that he had approached the university about purchasing the land beneath the business “some time ago.” However, when asked about it, Golding told The Messenger, “Motel Partners has not expressed an interest to the university.” Hayes said that he and Parfitt are “possibly” still interested in purchasing the land.

Golding told The Messenger that the university may use the proceeds of the land sale to “make other strategic real estate investments and potentially realize greater revenues from ground lease arrangements. Additionally, the acquired properties may be used to support academic and administrative activities.”