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UNT closer to buying building

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

University to pay $6.25 million for site that houses Sack & Save

The University of North Texas is one step closer to buying the 91,000-square-foot building that currently houses Sack & Save.

The Board of Regents authorized the university to complete the purchase for $6.25 million, and university officials expect the deal to go through in the next 90 days.

It is unclear at this point if Sack & Save’s lease will continue when the property is transferred, as final details of the negotiation are still being worked out, said Bob Brown, UNT’s vice president for finance and administration.

“If the property ends up being transferred to the university with the lease that’s in effect, the university will work with the current tenant so they could remain until the university needs to begin the physical work or renovation on the facility, if the leaseholder wants that,” Brown said.

Sack & Save is leasing the property from owner Remington Partners on a short-term basis. Calls to Remington Partners were not returned.

Gary Shelton, owner and manager of the store, said he was unsure if they’d stay in the space after the building was sold.

“There’s just so many wild cards to this deal, and we don’t have a specific timeline,” he said. “There’s just too many unknowns to plot a course right now. We’re trying to see what happens and not assume the worst.”

Plans for the building will start soon and could continue into the fall semester, Brown said.

Then, significant renovations will begin. At this time, university officials aren’t sure what services and offices will be housed in the space.

Negotiations between Remington Partners and UNT began in 2014, and the Board of Regents authorized Chancellor Lee Jackson, or one of his designees, to use eminent domain if a deal couldn’t be reached.

Jackson said Thursday he was happy the transaction was able to be completed on the open market, and will help university functions grow as enrollment continues to increase.

“The area on the south side of the UNT campus has been included in master plans for many years, and the widening of [Interstate 35E] creates disruption and change,” he said. “Because we continue to grow and have needs for more housing, more retail service support for our campus and more visitor access to community services, this site will allow us to provide a convenient and visible location for much needed university services.”

The desire to keep the transaction from eminent domain hearings led to some delays in the acquisition, Brown said. Additionally, there were other offers on the building, so negotiations took longer.

Because of the nature of the deal, the price was driven up to $6.25 million, almost three times the amount the Denton Central Appraisal District said the building was worth in 2014 ($2,155,200).

The university is working to acquire other properties in the area, and is in negotiations with Rasoi, The Indian Kitchen at 1002 Ave. C, between Eagle Drive and Wilshire Street.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.