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University and Foundation Sell Properties It No Longer Needs

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

ABF9C00E-B3D7-4DE7-B2D0-B556B621A8AB_1_201_aCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Properties for sale by Clarion University and the Clarion University Foundation have nothing to do with the integration of Clarion University with California and Edinboro, according to university and foundation officials.

Six university-owned properties along Corbett Street in Clarion are for sale by Smathers Real Estate with sealed bids, and the foundation sold some student housing rental buildings.

“The sale of the university-owned property is not related to integration,” said James Geiger, Vice President for University Advancement.

“We made a decision to sell the properties several years ago as campus needs have changed. The proposed sales were approved by the state legislature.”

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Max Smith, Executive Director of the Clarion University Foundation, Inc., echoed Geiger’s comments.

“The recent sale of foundation-owned properties is not related to integration, either,” Smith said. “Our board decided to sell those locations due to their continued vacancy over the past several years.”

The Barnes Center at Trinity Point was sold last year by the Foundation to Clarion Hospital/Butler Hospital.

“The recent sales were three of our local housing properties, including ones at 110 Grand Avenue, 56 Wood Street, and 11 Wilson Avenue,” Smith continued.

Local property owners said that they would like an opportunity to become a rental property.

“They sat vacant for a while and it made sense to sell.”

The Clarion University Foundation also owns Reinhard Villages in Clarion Township and the two suites of buildings on Main Street. However, Clarion University manages those properties through a master agreement.

A recent restructuring of the Clarion University Foundation places a primary focus on the investment portfolio and the longevity, the health of the endowment, and fellowships, according to Smith.

The Corbett Street properties were purchased by the University over the years for a possible expansion planned many years ago by President James Gemmel. Existing properties were purchased on both sides of a portion of East Main Street and the Still Hall College of Business was constructed before state construction funds dried up and hopes of expansion dissipated.

In more recent years, a revised master plan spearheaded by then-President Karen Whitney pushed for suite-style housing buildings on Main Street that also have activities such as Starbucks, a movie theatre, and classrooms.

Other Master Plans also suggested an expansion of the University towards Corbett Street. The original expansion of the then college abruptly ended on Wilson Avenue where the maintenance building now stands. The desire to extend do University footprint to continue to Corbett Street was always a possibility.

“We have offers on three of the six properties on Corbett Street,” said Greg Smathers of Smathers Real Estate. “I also sold the property on the corner of Greenville Avenue and Corbett Street that the university owned. At one time it was owned by Andy Montana who had his home there and another building where he had his shoe repair shop. The person who bought the lot and the building purchased it for a child he has enrolled at Clarion University for the fall semester.”

While some people are anxious about the planned integration of Clarion with Edinboro and California, Smathers feels there are some positive things happening.

“It’s not all doom and gloom and the real positive aspect for everyone in Clarion is it’s going to put six houses back on the tax roll.

“Just last week I helped in getting a student to transfer to Clarion instead of another university. He is going to be a biology major and play baseball. They came to Clarion for the orientation two weeks ago and toured the campus. The dad said, ‘My God you’ve got a beautiful campus, and it’s so much nicer than the other campus.’ His dad was just in awe of the new gymnasium.

“I also sold his dad a real nice camp up in Cook Forest.”


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