City Denies ‘Property’ Meeting
The latest in the battle for the former army reverse property includes City of Huntsville personnel denying meeting with SHSU officials specifically on the property in question, reports the Huntsville Item [Sep. 11]:
City Manager Matt Benoit and Economic Development Director Aron Kulhavy challenged for the first time Wednesday the Sam Houston State University administrators and state regents' version of a March conversation SHSU officials say they had with city officials staking a clear claim to the old Armory site on Sam Houston Avenue.
Benoit and Kulhavy confirmed Wednesday that they did meet March 12 with SHSU Vice President for Finance and Operations Al Hooten at Hooten’s office on campus to review the Campus Master Plan Update but both denied being presented with SHSU’s plan to purchase the Army Reserve Building, which was officially sold by the city to Maalouf Properties on Aug. 22.
Benoit and Kulhavy said Hooten did not mention the site at 2257 Sam Houston Ave. at the March 12 meeting — as Hooten and SHSU President Dana Gibson have claimed several times since July 2 when the city accepted Maalouf Properties’ sole bid on the site. Hooten didn’t mention the site when he unveiled the Campus Master Plan to the city of Huntsville’s representatives March 12 and would not give them a copy of the master plan document at the close of the meeting to use as reference. Texas State University System Vice Chancellor Fernando Gomez also mentioned that the property was discussed during the meeting in a letter obtained by the Huntsville Item.
SHSU has been in public pursuit of the 2.5-acre property since the July 2 City Council meeting, when the council voted to award a $650,000 bid to Maalouf Properties despite Hooten’s late attempt to block the bid. On June 28, the day after the City Council meeting agenda was released, Hooten sent a formal request to Benoit and Mayor Mac Woodward to discard any bids.