The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


University Gardens shut down

Photo by Jessica Savage, The Daily Campus. Residents of University
Gardens received eviction notices in early June. Since then, tenants
have been emptying their apartments and searching for a new place
to live before the school year starts.

Residence Life and Student Housing officials, along with university owned Peruna Properties, surprised residents of University Gardens by sending out eviction notices the first week of June.

Citing a university paid for engineering study that said $12.4 million in renovations would be needed to bring the property up to code standards, SMU said tenants had until July 31 to vacate the complex.

But according to University Park code enforcement official Russell Craig, the property has no citations written against it in the past year. He added that UP had not condemned the property either.

Jake Higgins, who has lived with his girlfriend in their second-floor University Gardens apartment for a year, thought the eviction notice arrived suddenly. After receiving a letter in early June detailing the eviction process, Higgins and his girlfriend began the search for a new place to live.

?It came out of the blue,? Higgins said, adding that authorities must have known about it for months before making the decision.

SMU and its realty group, Peruna Properties, had been methodically buying ownership of the various condos and apartments inside University Gardens since 1998. In 2001 the University bought out enough units to gain control of the complex.

According to a source inside RLSH, the university will not immediately knock down the complex as it is still deciding what to do with the land the complex sits on.

Residents of the Binkley Apartments can rest easy for now, as the university said that those apartments would stay open for at least the 2005-06 school year.

But according to a planning map obtained by The Daily Campus, the Binkley Apartments do not have much of a future. The land they currently sit on is marked for campus expansion.

Additionally, the university owns 47 residential homes in the area between University and SMU Boulevard, Dublin Street and Central Expressway, according to the SMU Public Affairs office.

The leader of SMU?s bid for the Bush Presidential Library, Tom Barry, categorically denied any link between the shut down of University Gardens and a potential library site.

According to Barry, the Bush family would be involved in the selection of the final site. He did say that SMU expects to receive an answer on the library winner sometime either late summer or early fall.

Library or not, University Gardens residents are trying to find a new place before the school year starts. John Hines, who has lived in University Gardens for a year, has not found a place to live, yet. He heard the news of the evictions differently.

In early June, Hines called the leasing office to renew his 12-month contract, the month before his lease. Ironically, that day happened to be the morning the eviction notices were taped to each resident?s door.

?The woman I spoke with told me they were not renewing anyone?s lease, and a letter would be sent out today with the details,? he said.

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