From today’s Houston Business Journal:
The price tag has been revealed for the University of Texas System’s previously announced 300 acres in southwest Houston.
UT will pay $450 million over the next 30 years for the property, situated 3.5 miles away from the Texas Medical Center, the Houston Chronicle reports. The purchase price was just over $200 million, and the $450 million figure includes debt service.
The final price dramatically exceeds some experts’ predictions that the land would cost UT somewhere between $39 million to $65 million for the full 300 acres.
Chancellor William McRaven plans to make the campus an intellectual hub, one of the eight “quantum leaps” he announced in November. However, his plan has faced a great deal of backlash from University of Houston alumni and supporters who see the move as illegal or unfair competition.
Welcome Wilson Sr., former chairman of the UH board of regents and chairman of the UH Political Action Committee, recently issued this statement in an op-ed piece submitted to the Houston Businesses Journal:
“Competition is good in business. Competition is bad among Texas state agencies. A university is an agency of Texas. It creates unnecessary duplication and it wastes taxpayers’ money. The Texas Legislature created the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the specific purpose of preventing such action. Will Texas universities continue to be coordinated, or will it be dog eat dog?”
UH Chairman and Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta reportedly went as far as calling the plan the “most asinine thing I’ve ever seen,” and some UH law professors argued that UT’s plan violates state law. A UT spokesperson disputed that claim.
Despite the concerns, the system closed on its first 100-acre plot of land at the site earlier this week. McRaven has tasked a group to begin the planning phases for the new campus and will present his plan to the state’s higher education coordinating board on Jan. 21.
McRaven previously said that the task force will look to avoid duplicating programs and initiatives that other Houston schools and institutions are providing. Additional information>>>