By Tiff Moore, Online Editor and John Bonus, Transcript Correspondent
The Ohio Wesleyan board of trustees bought two houses located near campus using part of the
$1.5 million gained from selling Austin Manor.
One of the properties is a home at 145 West William St., which currently separates the Smith
and Hayes Hall parking lots. The other is a residence at 46 Hayes St., which is next to Haycock
Hall and the Buildings and Grounds office.
Lauri Strimkovsky, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, said in an email
to the Transcript that the property on West William Street will be used to expand student
Strimkovsky also said that a portion of the remaining funds from the Austin Manor sale will
potentially be used for repairs in Beeghly Library.
According to the Delaware County auditor’s website, Riverwest, a private investment firm in Columbus, bought Austin Manor Aug. 14, 2018. Strimkovsky said that RiverWest plans to make
improvements to the property so it can be used as a rental community.
“The property needed a substantial infusion of renovation dollars to modernize systems and bring the building up to current standards,” Strimkovsky said. “Rental revenues did not produce
adequate funds for this.”
Because of this and the fact that students no longer live in Austin Manor, the university senior leadership team recommended that the board of trustees sell the property.
The Transcript contacted Riverwest about the status and timeline of renovations but received no comment.
Austin Manor was built in 1923 as an all girls residency according to President Rock Jones. He said in an email interview that the building was converted into an intergenerational apartment
building in the 1980s.
This is not the first property that Ohio Wesleyan has sold in the past year. According to the Delaware County auditor website, the Hiram Perkins House was sold Nov. 13, 2017 to James
Manos for $170,000. It was previously used as a small living unit for the House of Peace and
Strimkovsky said the university sold the house because it was no longer needed as a student residence and needed significant renovations.
In an email interview, Manos said he plans to use the property to build a 43 room hotel. This proposal was discussed at multiple Delaware city council meetings between June and August.
According to Manos, the council did not approve his initial plan because it included the construction of a parking lot in a residential area. In response, Manos proposed that parking
spaces be built into the ground floor of the hotel.
“Now that I’m keeping on the existing property which is zoned properly, all I need is a change of use, as a hotel is permitted on the Perkins property,” said Manos.
The council will be discussing this revised plan at a meeting in October. If the proposal is approved, Manos plans to start building the hotel in March 2019.
“Having a hotel close to campus is a great idea, especially for families who come to visit from long distances” said Paris Norman, a junior at OWU.
Nicholas Melvin, a senior at OWU, said having a hotel basically on campus would be awesome, but he would also like to see the historical aspects of the Perkins House remain intact.
According to Strimkovsky, the university currently does not plan to sell any more properties.