Posted by Philip Poole on 2006-10-06

Samford University has exercised an option to purchase a tract of land near the campus that was sold to a developer in 2004.

The 17-acre tract, located on University Park Drive adjacent to Homewood High School, had been targeted for residential and commercial development, but the plans did not materialize. At the time of the original sale, Samford retained right of first offer should the developer decide to sell, according to Joseph W. Mathews Jr., Samford's vice president for business affairs.

Samford had used the property as overflow parking prior to the sale. At the time of the sale, the university had no plans for developing the land.

"Since we originally sold the property, we have made the decision to construct a new arena in the central campus that is dramatically changing our campus landscape," Mathews said. "It is now in the university's best interests to re-acquire the University Park Drive tract for future campus expansion."

The University will continue to use the tract as overflow parking for the immediate future and study potential future use as part of the ongoing strategic planning process, Mathews said.

The University's board of trustees authorized university officials to negotiate the purchase at their September meeting. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.