Regents to Consider Maalouf Property Condemnation

The latest on the Maalouf property saga continues as noted in the August 13 Huntsville Item:
The Texas State University System Board of Regents will consider this week using eminent domain to condemn the Sam Houston Avenue property occupied by the abandoned Military Reserve Building and under contract for $650,000 by Maalouf Properties of Huntsville.

Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Fernando Gomez told The Item on Monday that the university system preferred to purchase the 1,600-square-foot facility from Maalouf Properties but intends to acquire it through condemnation if necessary.

Tarek Maalouf said Monday that he was concerned that he would not be able to address the Board of Regents until after members vote on acquiring the property through purchase or condemnation.

Maalouf has said he intends to develop the property for commercial use that would contribute to the city’s tax rolls.

Mike Wintemute, spokesman for the Texas State University System Board of Regents, said it was premature to speculate on how the regents will vote this week. SHSU needs the land to house its programs for veterans and ROTC operations, which are “robust and expected to continue to grow,” he said. “The university sees that facility as a great opportunity to serve veterans as it has a history of doing,” Wintemute said. This particular piece of property is important to SHSU because it’s ”adjacent to campus and convenient to students” and has been included — along with a swath of property down Sam Houston Avenue from 22nd Street to Avenue I — in SHSU’s master plan, he said.

Wintemute said he didn’t know why SHSU didn’t bid on the property in June.

SHSU officials, however, blame the city of Huntsville. SHSU didn’t bid because the city failed to notify university officials of the bid requirements after knowing its intention to purchase the property, SHSU spokeswoman Julia May on Monday.

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