JMU land sale almost complete

Brent Finnegan -- November 28th, 2007

There was quite a bit of discussion about JMU’s plans for Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, but not as much about the 32 acres by Neff and Port. In March (and again in May) I wrote about Jonathan White’s campaign to raise awareness of battlefield preservation issues — he came to Harrisonburg to visit the Ashby Battlefield in that Port-Neff area.

Last night, city council voted to move ahead with the sale of 32 acres in that area to JMU.

8 Responses to “JMU land sale almost complete”

  1. finnegan says:

    From today’s Breeze:

    The General Assembly approved the expenditure of university funds during its March session and determined that the money to buy the land would come from the university’s reserves.

    The university wants the added acreage because there are no current plans to renovate the old fields at Memorial Hall, Egle said […]

    Some JMU students disagree over whether the new addition would help or hinder the university.

    “I always see the athletic fields packed with people,” junior Kristin Otte said. “I think the students use athletics to relieve stress, so the fields would be a great addition to our school.”

    Senior Paul Pflueger disagreed.

    “I know the university is projecting more growth in the future so I don’t know why they wouldn’t use that land for more dorms and classrooms,” he said. “They should focus on expanding the university itself.

  2. David Miller says:

    I’m confused by this part of the post
    “The university wants the added acreage because there are no current plans to renovate the old fields at Memorial Hall, Egle said […]”

    I thought that we already went through the fact that there are plenty of plans to renovate the old fields at Memorial Hall.

  3. finnegan says:

    I was also confused by that, David.

  4. David Miller says:

    I guess that we have to accept that we don’t and won’t know what is going on until it it done. Rep vs dem. I love it.

  5. finnegan says:

    Reported today by WSVA:

    JMU has put out a request for proposals to develop athletic and recreation fields and facilities on a 51-acre swath of land between Port Republic Road and Neff Avenue.

    Harrisonburg City Council agreed recently to sell 33-acres of that land to JMU for seven-million dollars saying that it wasn’t feasible for a residential development and they don’t want it to become a commercial property.

    Madison will build several soccer fields at the site.

  6. David Troyer says:

    what makes this land not feasible for residential development?

  7. finnegan says:

    Not entirely sure. Could have something to do with the proximity to the new hospital, or it would add to the traffic on Port and Neff?

  8. Scott says:

    The development feasibility comes down to money — the City (as they should) wants to maximize the amount of money they can make from the sale of the land. The only way the land could be developed residentially would be if the City were willing to sell it for much less than they can obtain from JMU or from a commercial developer — thus, it “isn’t feasible for residential development.”

    See below for some rough approximations of what it would mean to sell the land at the same price ($7M) to a residential developer . . .

    $7M for 33 acres
    $212k / acre
    1 acre = (4) 0.2 acre single-family lots
    (this takes out 25% for infrastructure and green space)
    $53k / lot

    The developer would be paying $53k per lot before they even started installing the infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, curbs, gutters, sidewalks). They wouldn’t be able to put all of that money into it and sell the individual lots at a price that the market would sustain.

    Thus….not feasible for residential development.

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