By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne has spent more than $2 million in the last five years purchasing lower campus real estate, despite letting some sit unused for years, according to Allegheny County real estate statistics.
According to University spokeswoman Bridget Fare, Duquesne now owns nine buildings on Fifth Avenue, at least two of which are unused and awaiting renovations, . The most recent additions are the former Kadet Photo Supply building, purchased in March 2014 for $600,000, and the Ghana Building, purchased in September for $220,000.
“Duquesne’s property acquisitions are made strategically to provide for current needs and future growth,” Fare said.
Fare said renovations were almost complete on the Kadet Building and the Anna Shultz building, which houses a law clinic affiliated with Duquesne’s law school.
The Ghana building and its neighbor, formerly known as the “Enugu” building and now re-named “Nigeria,” have not been remodeled. According to Fare, “several uses are being considered for the yet-to-be renovated buildings,” which are not in use, despite the fact that the Nigeria building was purchased in 2011. She said possible uses are classroom space, offices and public service institutions. Duquesne’s current public service establishments include the Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education and the Center for Pharmacy Care, both of which are located on Fifth and serve the general public.
Fare did not say whether the acquisitions were likely to continue.
“Duquesne has been an ‘anchor institution’ in Uptown since its founding, and we plan on continuing to be actively involved in neighborhood revitalization,” Fare said.
Recently purchased properties include the Chuck Cooper building, which houses a PNC Bank branch on the first level and University offices above, and Van Kaam, home of Duquesne’s Army ROTC offices, the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Office of Enrollment Systems and Research, both acquired in the last decade.
The Koren building stands on the corner where Fifth Avenue branches to the left and becomes Diamond Street. It houses the Office of Human Resource Management and Public Affairs. On the other end of campus, two blocks from Koren, is facility management’s Bushinski building. The building is sandwiched between a Chinese restaurant and a vacant storefront. Facilities management personnel moved their offices there after their previous home, the Bagamoyo buiding near the Forbes Garage, was demolished in 2013 and turned into a parking lot.
“Duquesne’s property acquisitions are made strategically to provide for current needs and future growth,” Fare said. “The hospital, highway and the river, not to mention a cliff, border three sides of campus, so going toward Fifth Avenue makes sense.”
Right now, 820 Fifth Ave. stands empty with a realtor’s sign hanging above the door, as do many other structures on Fifth Avenue. Fare would not state whether or not the University is currently considering any new purchases.
“The University will continue to examine opportunities on a case-by-case basis if they arise,” Fare said.