UVa bought the Econo Lodge on Emmett St. using a pseudonym, Will Goldsmith reports for C-Ville Weekly. They paid $6M back in May under the name “Meadow Creek II Corporation,” rather than as the UVa Foundation, which is the name of the corporation that holds the university’s property. They’ve never made their acquisition public—it’s Goldsmith who discovered it.
This is interesting because of the university’s relationship with adjacent landowners and the city itself. When UVa acquires land, it’s taken out of the tax base of the municipality, so their physical expansion is not particularly welcomed by the city or the county. (Hence the interest in UVa’s recent announcement that they’re looking to grow up, not out.) Some of the folks who own property adjacent to the university see themselves as holding the line against the school’s sprawl, so it’s reasonable to speculate that UVa used an alternate name to circumvent the prior owner’s reluctance to sell, and presumably to bargain for a lower price than might otherwise be exacted from the university. I can’t see that there’s anything illegal about that—there’s even an argument to be made that it’s a smart use of public funds—but if that is what’s going on, this does mark a new tack for the growing university.
Note, too, that the Daily Progress records a building permit to Meadow Creek II for 1600 Gordon Avenue, indicating at least one other property on the fringes of the university is owned by the corporation.