Keeping the peace

April 19, 2013 

It’s understandable why tenants of the Seaboard Station development near William Peace University in downtown Raleigh would be a little concerned with indications that the university is interested in buying the property. That property, a retail center, has been in bankruptcy for more than a year.

Given the location, Peace’s interest makes sense for the school. But the Raleigh City Council did a reasonable bit of business in demanding that the university talk to tenants with more details on what it might do with the property. Those tenants, after all, have their livelihoods tied up there. The council was in effect responding to constituents.

Council members can bring influence to bear on the issue because Peace wants to issue $16 million in tax exempt bonds to refinance bonds from 2004 and to repay a loan it took out from its endowment. The council has to approve the bond issue.

Council members rightly want to protect the interests of tenants, and they have a right as well to know what Peace plans to do with this valuable property.

If the university’s plans are relatively benign with regard to the impact on tenants, fine. And, yes, at some point, should the university buy the property, it would have the right to do with it as it wishes. But there must be a warning and a transition for those tenants who are in place.

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