Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quaker Square Questions

The Dispatch, which is all over the Akron U’s purchase of Quaker Square like beige on oatmeal, is on about misstatements by University Counsel Ted Mallo. You can read yesterday’s Dispatch online story or today’s print edition for the details.

The Beacon picks up the story on its front today, but with a decidedly less breathless tone. The sale, after all, was based on independent appraisals, not the auditor’s assessment which everyone (but the Dispatch) know is way less than anything we would normally call market value. Still, information explaining all that in the ABJ’s story raises some questions:

    The appraiser hired by the university who came up with the price said last night that the county auditor does not consider the value of such things as the Crowne Plaza name nor the historic nature of the property, converted in the mid-1970s from a grain elevator to a hotel with round rooms in the former silos.

    Charles G. Snyder, who has offices in New Philadelphia and Uniontown, said the auditor also doesn't take into account the income a property produces.

    Also, the price for almost any real-estate transaction is more than the county auditor's official valuation of the property.
So the U got a fair price because of various factors that make the property a viable business site, but the U isn’t running it as a business. Even using some of the rooms and other elements of the business as part of the hospitality school, the Crown Plaza name and the historical nature of the property don’t benefit the University.

Instead of muttering about abstract value numbers, the Dispatch could be focusing on a real question. Namely, should a university pay a premium for a functioning business when that premium doesn’t benefit the university? I’m not so sure they should, but it doesn’t sound like anything is going to change, whether or not Mallo returns to Columbus to clarify his All we can do now is watch the U try to make this a good investment.


derek said...

It seems like every week there's a story where I read it and say:

"Is (enter U of Akron official's name here) on the crack?"

This is that story for the week.

How the University gets all of this money for land acquisition? I know they will, eventually, pass some of this cost off to students, one way or another.in1