Scrolling Headlines:

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

University of Massachusetts Boston makes bid for Bayside Expo Center

The University of Massachusetts is growing.

 

In December UMass Boston entered a preliminary agreement to purchase the Bayside Exposition Center. The 20-acre property on Columbia Point near the UMass Boston campus was put up for sale after being foreclosed upon in March of last year, according to DeWayne Lehman, UMass Boston’s Director of Communications.

 

He added that the current owners, a Florida based holding company called LNR Property Corporation, put the Center up for auction in May but had to remove it due to a lack of bidders.

 

“Right now we are still in the preliminary stage,” Lehman said. UMass Boston signed a letter of intent in December and is currently negotiating the purchase. He said that the purchase will enable UMass Boston to fulfill its plan for the site.

 

The plan, finalized in 2007, calls for the construction of new academic and even some residential buildings.

 

“Right now we don’t have any residential facilities,” Lehman said, adding that the addition of facilities enabling 2,000 beds is part of the reasoning for the purchase. UMass Boston also intends to use portions of the property for athletic fields, parking and as “swing space” while buildings are being constructed or renovated.

 

UMass Boston is part of a larger trend. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, some institutions of higher learning are taking advantage of foreclosures and declining property values to expand their real estate holdings. Some schools are seeking more space for academic and residential facilities, while others see the acquisitions as investments in the future. When real estate values recover, the schools can sell the land and buildings at a profit or they can form partnerships with start up companies, trading space and access to research facilities for stakes in the businesses.

 

The University is financing the purchase through the University’s Building Authority, which is a state agency that funds construction projects and real estate deals throughout the whole UMass system. Its officers and members are appointed by the governor to oversee its operations.

 

“Our sole purpose is to issue long-term debt for capital projects at the request of the University trustees,” said Steven Dansby, the Chief Financial Officer of the Building Authority.

 

The Building Authority, Dansby said, sells federal and state taxation exempt bonds to individuals, organizations and companies through underwriters every fall, who assess the eligibility of the potential customers based on risk. The money raised is then used for the purpose for which the trustees requested it. The building constructed with the money, or the piece of land bought with it, then belongs to the Building Authority.

 

Dansby said that the Building Authority signs a contract where the campus gets all the rights and responsibilities of ownership in exchange for paying back the bonds with interest.

 

“We’ll be making the payment,” Lehman said. He added that the agreement between the campus and the Building Authority is like that of taking out a car loan.

 

According to the Building Authority’s report to the University’s Board of Trustees in Sept. 2008, they have issued bonds through Lehmnn Brothers, Citigroup, Bank of America and Ambac. In October of last year, the Building Authority issued $512.5 million worth of bonds through Citigroup.

 

Matthew M. Robare can be reached at mrobare@student.umass.edu.

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