UD sells Tower Village; buyer plans new amenities soon

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    Tower Village, formerly owned by the university, is the home of many upperclassmen, and is a hub of student life.

    On Tuesday August 29, The University of Dallas will no longer be the owner of the Tower Village Apartments, known better by all who have endured living there as Old Mill.

    The university’s $20 million sale of the property to  to SB Pacific, with a $500,000 concession to the buyer to make upgrades, was closed in an effort to raise much needed revenue in a tight financial time for UD.

    It comes as a surprise, however, to many residents, including students, who have yet to receive any official communication about the change of ownership.

    Centra Partners will take over as the new property managers on Tuesday, with Jennifer Rader taking over in the leasing office.

    Jana Mobarak, the regional supervisor for Centra, discussed the plans for new amenities once the new owners have for the property.

    In the first 30 to 60 days, the company  plans to redo the signage for the apartment buildings and to make the gates around the property operational, meaning residents will need a clicker or key fob to pass through the gates.

    Within the next three to six months they will begin construction on a fitness center, internet cafe, 24-hour packaging center and dog park with exercise area.

    More long term projects, estimated to begin next spring, include an “exercise path” around the property with seven or eight exercise stations, a fishing station for catch and release at the pond, and a remodel of the deck in the leasing office.

    Changes that will take effect immediately include a $2 monthly fee for pest control on new contracts, and a weekly service to clean the pond.

    According to Dr. John Plotts, executive vice president of Enrollment and Student Affairs, the university vetted around 20 potential buyers before settling on SB Pacific, a California-based company looking to increase its holdings in Texas.

    “We made a conscious effort to find a student-friendly buyer that would improve student living,” Plotts said.

    Still some students are concerned that it was more advantageous to students for the university to own the complex in which so many of them live.

    One of these advantages was a discount offered to students of the university.

    Mobarak stated that residents should not expect a rent hike, but the new owners do not have the same restrictions that require a certain percentage of apartments be used for low-income housing.

    “Unfortunately we will no longer be offering the affordable housing tax credit program,” Mobarak said. “These programs will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with their specific needs. Same for any set student discount program that may reduce or pay for their rents.” 

    This will not affect current lease contracts, but will impact new or renewed contracts.

    Senior Madeline Barry has lived in Tower Village for the past year.

    While this change in ownership does not affect her current contract, it could be an issue for students in a similar situation looking to renew for next year.

    “The deal that they had with University of Dallas students was pretty much the only reason I was living there,” Barry said. “If they didn’t have that UD deal any more, it would not be worth it.”

    Barry, like many UD students, does not have a car, limiting her housing options.

    If she could not live in Tower Village, she would likely have to move near a DART station.

    This would mean giving up the convenience of being close to campus.

    Still, Barry recognizes the need for improvements in the complex, and welcomes upgrades that will address poor sealing and pest control in the units.

    “There is a wasp infestation in the wall of my dining room right now. So there are things they could upgrade in the apartments to make it nicer and more livable,” Barry said.

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