By Josiah Clark
Appalachian State University recently purchased four residential buildings off of East Howard Street, and demolition of the buildings began today.
Consisting of two houses and two duplexes, these properties were evacuated, boarded up and are in the process of being demolished, leaving members of the community wondering what the next step will be moving forward.
Gregory Lovins, the Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs for Appalachian State University, said that the university acquired the properties last fall after owners approached the university.
“We determined that it would be a good idea and a good opportunity for the university to acquire property that is nearby the main campus,” Lovins said.
Initially, the idea was to keep the original structures, but the properties were run down and in noticeably bad shape.
“We determined that they were not in the kind of condition that we wanted them in. We decided go through with demolishing those homes,” Lovins said.
Barely a stones throw from the Belk Library and the Plemmons Student Union, this newly acquired land provides AppState the opportunity for expansion. What will be located on the properties in the future is still unknown.
Lovins said that the first priority will be to get rid of the eyesore on Howard Street.
After that, Lovins said, “We are not yet exactly sure what will happen in the future.” But Lovins offered up some potential uses for the property.
“We are most likely either going to add temporary parking, turn it into a vegetated green space, or turn the location into a residence hall, academic building or classroom building,” he said. “It all depends on the amount of funding we receive, and will no doubt take a lot of work.”
According to the Watauga County Register of Deeds, the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of Appalachian State University purchased the properties from Three Vance Brothers LLC last September for $700,000.