UA Plans to Demolish Homes, Renters Worry

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The University of Arkansas said it expects to demolish the homes on Brenda Drive and Court Street within the next three to sixth months.

The university has owned the properties since April 2011.

John Diamond, UA associate vice chancellor, said it would pave the way for a temporary parking lot.

"Over the long haul we see that as part of our overall growth of the area of campus moving slightly west... and making better use of the space that we have and we own," Diamond said.

Talk of a possible University of Arkansas construction project has some Fayetteville tenants worried about the future of their homes.

Nancy Deyo, who has lived on Court Street for more than seven years, said she first heard about the UA construction plans last year.

“They said that there were some people coming around to check for asbestos, and there were also some sort of construction folk,” Deyo said. “I thought they were going to fix them [the town homes], but, no, they were demolition people.”

When Deyo first moved into her town home, her lease was year-to-year. But she said about a year ago a new property management firm took over, only offering 30-day leases.

Deyo said she was told the demolition would begin before September of this year.

“But as it turned out, it wasn’t,” she said. “One of my friends who sold her house over on Graham said that they had told her they ran short of money, and that it would be the first of the year.”

One home is being rented out on Brenda Drive and five on Court Street. Diamond said that most of the vacant homes are deteriorating.

"Those homes are older, they are rundown, they are not at the standard that the university feels worth investing more money as housing. It's better use to the university for other purposes," Diamond said.

The university has a contract with Providence Property Management, which handles those properties.

"From our standpoint, we've fully communicated with the management property and the management property is responsible for communicating that information with the tenants," Diamond said.

Jackson Jennings, a UA instructor, moved into a townhouse on Court Street. He said he went straight to Providence Property Management for answers.

“When I talk to my landlord I said, ‘Do you guys know what they are going to do?’ That was my question in the beginning because I had heard the hearsay,” Jennings said. “So when I went in to ask they said, ‘Yeah, we are still not sure.’ I went in again, and I think somebody told me that it would be at least until the end of the year that we could be here.”

While the property management firm has given him some answers, Jennings said he still feels out of loop.

“I’ve gotten no information from the Razorback Foundation, none from the university,” he said. “All I get is through Providence, and that’s pretty limited.”

University of Arkansas officials said it has help available for those tenants if they are searching for off-campus housing options.