University May Acquire Adjacent Strategic Property for Future Use

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State plans to acquire a strategic parcel of land adjacent to the University Park campus known as the O.W. Houts property, pending approval from the University Board of Trustees at its May 16 meeting.

“Potential plans for this property are still being considered,” said Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University. “However, the strategic importance of the property is apparent given the location in relation to the University. The use of this property will be reviewed the next time we update the campus master plan for University Park.”

The property consists of eight parcels totaling 5.33 acres at the intersection of West College Avenue and North Buckhout Street in State College and Ferguson Township. Seven of the parcels, totaling 4.64 acres have been offered to Penn State for $3.4 million. Those parcels include the former O.W. Houts retail building, lumberyard, structures and various storage facilities. The retail establishment that occupied the site, O.W. Houts & Sons, closed in January. Two of the parcels are vacant and located on the south side of College Avenue.

Minit Mart, on the north side of College Avenue, holds a long-term lease on the eighth parcel, which expires June 2020. The .69-acre parcel is offered to Penn State under a separate option-to-buy agreement for $1 million. At the time of closing on the other seven parcels, the University would provide $500,000 for the parcel where Minit Mart is located, with the balance paid at closing in 2020.

The agreements are contingent on board approval, as well as an environmental assessment that is satisfactory to the University.

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